State Rep. Lesia Liss, who is serving her second term in the Michigan House of Representatives, has been chosen to receive the Susan B. Anthony Community Award from the University of Michigan-Dearborn.
UM-Dearborn’s Commission for Women presents the Susan B. Anthony Community Award annually to a member of the local community whose life and deeds exemplify the dedication, fortitude, political agitation and involvement of Susan B. Anthony on behalf of women.
Liss, who is an alumna of UM-Dearborn, will receive her award during a dinner ceremony on Wednesday, April 6 at the campus’s Fairlane Center South Building. The event begins at 5 p.m. with a silent auction and reception, followed by dinner and an awards program.
Liss was raised in Warren, Mich. where she attended Charles S. Mott High School and had the opportunity to enroll in a pre-nursing class at the Career Prep Center, igniting her interest in the nursing field. In 1984, she graduated from Mott High School and started her health care career shortly thereafter at the Henry Ford Health System. She went on to attend Henry Ford Community College, earning her associate’s degree in science-nursing, graduating cum laude.
Always interested in cultural diversity because she grew up in a multilingual home, Liss furthered her studies at UM-Dearborn, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Hispanic studies and a minor in women’s studies. Liss was a founding member of the Women in Learning and Leadership (WILL) program. She also participated in the Phoenix afterschool mentoring program for middle school girls. Since graduation and as a state representative, Liss has worked on prison reform–an issue she first encountered in WILL when she served as a mentor for a college-level class taught at the Scott Correctional facility for women.
After 24 years of working in health care, Liss decided she wanted to help people in a broader way. She ran for state representative in 2008, with the encouragement of her family and friends, and won. Since taking office, she has introduced legislation to facilitate health care reform and open adoption records; sponsored legislation that extended unemployment benefits in Michigan for an additional seven weeks; co-sponsored a law to make Michigan’s restaurants and bars smoke-free and sponsored a resolution recognizing March as Kidney Awareness Month in the state of Michigan.