Richard H. Austin
|39th Secretary of State of Michigan|
January 1, 1971 – January 1, 1995
|Governor||William Milliken (1971–1983) James Blanchard (1983–1991) John Engler (1991–1995)|
|Preceded by||James M. Hare|
|Succeeded by||Candice Miller|
|Born||May 6, 1913|
|Died||April 20, 2001(aged 87)|
Early life and education
Austin was born in Stouts Mountain, Cullman County, Alabama, on May 6, 1913. He completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in business administration from the Detroit Institute of Technology. He was an accountant by profession.
He served as a delegate for the Wayne County 6th District to the constitutional convention that produced the 1962 Michigan Constitution. In 1964, he ran for Congress in Michigan's 1st congressional district, but lost to John Conyers. He then made an unsuccessful bid to become mayor of Detroit in 1969.
Michigan Secretary of State
In 1970, Austin was elected as the Michigan Secretary of State. During his tenure, he supported the enactment of laws mandating use of seat belts and child safety seats. In 1976 Austin unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by the retiring Philip Hart. Don Riegle won the nomination and went on to serve three terms.
In 1994, Austin lost his bid for re-election to the office of Secretary of State to Candice Miller, a Republican. Austin was the last Democrat to serve as Secretary of State of Michigan until 2018, when Democrat Jocelyn Benson was elected to the office.
Death and legacy
Austin died from Alzheimer's Disease on April 20, 2001, at the age of 87.
James M. Hare
| Secretary of State of Michigan