Angus King

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Angus King
Angus King, official portrait, 113th Congress.jpg
United States Senator
from Maine
Assumed office
January 3, 2013
Serving with Susan Collins
Preceded by Olympia Snowe
72nd Governor of Maine
In office
January 5, 1995 – January 8, 2003
Preceded by John McKernan
Succeeded by John Baldacci
Personal details
Born Angus Stanley King, Jr.
(1944-03-31) March 31, 1944 (age 70)
Alexandria, Virginia, U.S.
Political party Independent
Spouse(s) Mary Herman (m.1984–present)
Children Angus III
Residence Brunswick, Maine
Alma mater Dartmouth College
University of Virginia
Profession Lawyer, lecturer/instructor
Religion Episcopalian

Angus Stanley King, Jr.[1] (born March 31, 1944) is an American politician and the junior United States Senator from the state of Maine. A political independent, he served as the 71st Governor of Maine from 1995 to 2003.

King won Maine's 2012 Senate election and took office on January 3, 2013. For committee assignment purposes, he caucuses with the Democratic Party.

Early life, education, and private sector career[edit]

King was born in Alexandria, Virginia, the son of Ellen Archer (née Ticer) and Angus Stanley King, Sr., a lawyer.[1][2] He spent most of his adult years in the state of Maine. He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1966 and the University of Virginia School of Law in 1969. While a student at Dartmouth, King joined the Delta Upsilon social fraternity.[3] Soon after graduation from Virginia, King entered private law practice in Brunswick, Maine.

In the 1980s, King served as vice president of a company which developed alternative energy (hydro and biomass) projects in New England. In 1989 King founded Northeast Energy Management, Inc. The company developed, installed, and operated large-scale electrical energy conservation projects at commercial and industrial facilities throughout south-central Maine.

Before being elected Governor, King served as a Legislative Assistant to Democratic U.S. Senator William Hathaway in the 1970s. He was also well-known statewide as a television host on public television in Maine.[4]

Governor of Maine[edit]

1994 election[edit]

King was first elected in 1994, defeating both Democratic former Governor Joseph E. Brennan and Republican Susan Collins.

The key to the King strategy was a large investment in television advertising during Maine's unusually early June primary, allowing him to emerge from the primary season on an equal footing with his partisan rivals. Collins, a protégé of U.S. Senator and future Secretary of Defense William Cohen, was relatively unknown in Maine, but benefited from a chaotic eight-candidate Republican primary by winning with fewer than a quarter of the votes. Brennan was in his fifth campaign for governor - two successful - and beat back three challengers in the Democratic primary.

King's election as an independent was not unprecedented in Maine politics, as independent James B. Longley had been elected twenty years earlier. Governor King's bipartisan ways proved extremely popular: he was re-elected in 1998 with 59 percent of the vote to 19 percent for Republican Jim Longley Jr. (the son of the former governor) and 12 percent for Democrat Thomas Connolly. King was so popular, his 59% share of the vote was highest since Democrat Joseph E. Brennan was reelected in 1982 with 62 percent of the vote. Brennan's reelection in 1982 was the last time before 1998 that a gubernatorial candidate was able to get an overall majority of the vote, and King's reelection in 1998 was the last time in a Maine gubernatorial election that the winner got a majority of the vote.


During his tenure, he was the only governor in the United States unaffiliated with any political party. He was also one of only two governors nationwide not affiliated with either of the two major parties, the other being Jesse Ventura of Minnesota, who was elected in 1998 as a member of the Reform Party. The term of Connecticut's independent governor Lowell Weicker ended when King's began. In his book Independent Nation (2004), political analyst John Avlon describes all three governors as radical centrist thinkers.[5]

Maine governor Angus King meets Russian delegation (2002)

While in office Governor King launched the Maine Learning Technology Initiative or MLTI to provide laptops for every public middle-school student in the state of Maine, a first of its kind in the nation. It met with considerable resistance due to costs but was enacted by the Maine Legislature. On September 5 2002 the state began the program with a four-year $37.2-million contract with Apple Inc. to equip all seventh- and eighth-grade students and teachers in the state with laptops. "I think we're going to demonstrate the power of one-to-one computer access that's going to transform education", said Governor Angus King in a Wired magazine interview. "The economic future will belong to the technologically adept." While ushering in the program King quipped "We've still got fish but we're heavily into the chips", in reference to the State of Maine's fishing industry and the new laptop initiative.

One of the more controversial initiatives of Governor King was a law requiring all school employees – including volunteers and contractors working in schools – to be fingerprinted by the Maine State Police, and to have background checks conducted on them. The program purported to protect children from abuse by potential predators working within the schools but met with strong resistance from teachers' unions who considered it a breach of civil liberties. Supporters of the law claimed the fingerprinting requirement would stop previous offenders from coming to Maine to work in the schools and if Maine did not have this requirement it would send a message to previous offenders that they could work in Maine without fear of being identified as a child abuser. Critics of the law maintained that there was no evidence of a problem with child abuse by school employees and the fingerprinting represented a violation of constitutional guarantees (a claim which was not backed up by Supreme Court rulings on the issue). Fifty-seven teachers from across the state resigned in protest of the fingerprinting bill. The Maine Legislature voted to exempt current school employees, but this was vetoed by Gov. King in April 1997. The cost of the requirement was initially to be paid for by the school employees themselves but the Legislature voted to have the state fund the costs of the measure.

While governor King vetoed a bill which would have raised Maine's minimum wage by 25 cents per hour.[6]

Post-gubernatorial career (2003–12)[edit]

The day after he left office in 2003, King, his wife, Mary Herman, and their two children – Ben, 14, and Molly, 10 – embarked on a road trip in a 40-foot motor home to see America. Over the next six months, the family traveled 15,000 miles and visited 34 states before returning home in June 2003.

Since 2004, King has been a lecturer at Bowdoin College teaching a course called "Leaders and Leadership"; in the fall of 2009, he taught a similar course at Bates College. He also became employed at one of Maine's premier law firms, Bernstein Shur, and a mergers and acquisitions advisory firm (Leaders LLC) in Portland, Maine. He currently works on issues of sustainable and renewable energy. In spring 2009 he endorsed the Maine Green Energy Project, a summer program for young people to learn to build and advocate for green energy in Maine.

King was also involved in a wind power utility company, Independence Wind, co-founded with Robert Gardiner.[7] In August 2009, Independence Wind along with joint venture partner Wagner Forest Management won Maine DEP approval for construction of a proposed $120-million, 22-turbine, utility-scale wind power project along a prominent mountain ridge in Roxbury, Maine.[8] To avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest [3], King sold his part of the company after he entered the 2012 U.S. Senate election.[9] Of the project King has said in part: "However, the people who say wind is only an intermittent resource are looking for a one-shot solution. And my experience is that there are rarely silver bullets, but there is often silver buckshot. Wind is an adjunct source of energy. Ten percent, 20% can be very significant..."[10] King is also interested in solar energy and in spring 2009 he endorsed the Maine Green Energy Project, a summer program for young people to learn to build and advocate for green energy in Maine. King also helped launch the Vital Signs (Website) program at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute in 2009.[11] The Vital Signs program builds upon the 1-to-1 laptop network King established when he was governor of Maine.

United States Senate[edit]


On March 5, 2012, King announced that he was running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Olympia Snowe.[12][13] King said "hogwash" to allegations by some Republicans that he had cut a deal with Democrats to keep U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree out of the race.[14]

On November 6, 2012, King won the Senate race with 53%[15] of the vote, beating Democrat Cynthia Dill and Republican Charlie Summers.[16][17] The following week, King announced that he would caucus with Senate Democrats, explaining not only that it made more sense to affiliate with the party that has a clear majority, but that he would have been largely excluded from the committee process had he not caucused with a party.[18][19] King has not ruled out caucusing with the Republicans if they take control of the Senate in 2014.[20]

Committee assignments[edit]

Political positions[edit]


King has called for the continuation of a tariff on imported athletic footwear and rejects discussing the potential removal of the tariff in trade talks with Vietnam, citing the potential loss of jobs at New Balance's Skowhegan and Madison factories, as New Balance is the only remaining domestic manufacturer of athletic footwear.[21]


King opposes oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, believing the amount of oil is not worth the environmental risk of extracting it. He also believes that new developments in the energy field, such as fracking and the Keystone XL pipeline should be subject to "all appropriate environmental safeguards to protect the American people and the American land."[22]

He opposes the creation of a Maine Woods National Park, believing local control is the best way to conserve land.[22]

King opposes efforts in Maine to ban the baiting and trapping of bears, calling such practices necessary to prevent interaction between bears and people, and stating the practices are based on science and the views of experts. [23]


King proposes supporting teacher development, by attempting to elevate the teaching profession to something attractive for top students. With over 29% of teachers claiming they are likely to leave the profession, King proposes steps such as creating a recruitment program, supporting research and development, and improving access to technology. He additionally proposes increasing parent involvement in the classroom, supporting measures like gas cards for parents.[24]

Government reform[edit]

King supports reform of the Senate filibuster, noting that Senators are no longer required to stand on the floor and speak during a filibuster. He also points out that a 60-vote requirement to conduct business in the Senate was not included in the Constitution by the Framers.[22] King voted in favor of the so-called nuclear option in November of 2013 to eliminate the filibuster for most Presidential nominees, based on that view. [25]

King opposes attempts by the U.S. House to cut $40 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, fearing that it "would affect people in a serious way" and drive more people to soup kitchens and food banks. He supports the more modest Senate efforts to save $4 billion by closing loopholes. [26]

Gun laws[edit]

King supports expanding background checks to most firearms transactions, with exceptions for transfers between family members, calling such a position "the single most effective step" that can be taken to keep guns out of the wrong hands. He supports limiting the size of magazines to 10 rounds, and to make purchasing a gun for someone not legally allowed to have one a federal crime. He does not support a ban on assault weapons, believing it will not work and that such a ban is not based on the functionality of the weapons, which are not different from the many hunting rifles owned by Maine residents. He further states the fact that the vast majority of crimes are committed with handguns, not assault weapons.[27]

King voted for the Manchin-Toomey amendment to expand background checks for gun purchases.[28]

Health issues[edit]

King supports the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (often referred to as Obamacare). He is also pro-choice on abortion.[22]

On September 27, 2013, King voted to restore funding for the Affordable Care Act as part of an amendment to legislation funding government operations for 45 days, and which also omitted House-passed language prioritizing debt payments if Congress fails to increase the nation’s borrowing limits.[29] He has been quoted as stating that those opposed to the ACA who are attempting to discourage people from purchasing health insurance are "guilty of murder" and that doing so was "one of the grossest violations of our humanity that I could think of." [30]

Same-sex marriage[edit]

King supports same-sex marriage, stating that it is "necessary to provide couples and their families with equal protection under the law."[22] King also signed an amicus brief to the US Supreme Court in the case of United States v. Windsor encouraging it to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional. [31]


King has stated that he would not be willing to attend the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia due to threats against the Games. He further stated that he would not want his family to attend either. [32]


  1. ^ a b Angus S. King. ""Interview with Angus King by Andrea L’Hommedieu" by Angus S. King". Retrieved 2012-11-13. 
  2. ^ May 25, 2006 (2006-05-25). "Ellen Archer Ticer King - Daily Press". Retrieved 2012-11-13. 
  3. ^ "Greeks in the 113th Congress". North-American Interfraternity Conference. Retrieved 2 September 2013. 
  4. ^ Nemitz, Bill, "King’s first 100 days: ‘The hardest I’ve ever worked in my life’", Portland Press Herald, April 14, 2013. Retrieved 2013-04-30.
  5. ^ Avlon, John (2004). Independent Nation: How the Vital Center Is Changing American Politics. Harmony Books / Random House, pp. 177-93 ("Radical Centrists"). ISBN 978-1-4000-5023-9.
  6. ^ Seelye, Katharine Q. (1 July 2012). "Former Gov. Angus King Leads Maine Senate Race". The New York Times. Retrieved July 8, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Independence Wind, LLC". Retrieved 2012-11-13. 
  8. ^ "DEP approves Record Hill wind farm | Mainebiz". Retrieved September 14, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Panel questions loan guarantee for wind project in which Angus King had stake". Bangor Daily News. March 22, 2012. Retrieved May 30, 2012. 
  10. ^ Smith, Taylor. "Running with the wind". Retrieved October 13, 2012. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Michaud, Pingree and Baldacci may seek Olympia Snowe’s seat; King, Raye and Cutler also considering". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved March 1, 2012. 
  13. ^ Riskind, Jonathan (March 5, 2012). "Source: King to run for Snowe's seat". The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram. Retrieved March 5, 2012. 
  14. ^ "King supports Obama for re-election". Retrieved March 9, 2012. 
  15. ^ "Election Center". Senate: Maine. CNN. Retrieved November 14, 2012. 
  16. ^ "Angus King wins Senate bid". WCSH. November 7, 2012. 
  17. ^ Sharp, David (November 7, 2012). "King wins Senate race; gay marriage OK'd in Maine". Stamford Advocate, Associated Press. 
  18. ^ Miller, Kevin (November 14, 2012). "King will caucus with Senate Democrats". Kennebec Journal. 
  19. ^ O'Keefe, Ed (November 14, 2012). "Angus King to caucus with Democrats in Senate". The Washington Post. 
  20. ^ Recio, Maria (November 14, 2012). "McMorris Rodgers wins fight for spot in House GOP leadership". The Seattle Times. 
  21. ^ "King calls for continued tariff protection for Maine shoes". Kennebec Journal. August 14, 2012. Retrieved August 14, 2012. 
  22. ^ a b c d e "Angus on the Issues". Angus King for U.S. Senate. Retrieved June 22, 2012. 
  23. ^ "Senator Angus King defends Maine’s bear management". Bangor Daily April 6, 2014. Retrieved April 6, 2014. 
  24. ^ King, Angus. "T.I.P. The Scale for our Students". 
  25. ^ "King Statement on Vote to Alter Filibuster Rule". Office of Sen. Angus King. 2013-11-21. Retrieved 2013-12-07. 
  26. ^ Koeing, Seth (October 24, 2013). "Angus King says $40 billion in proposed House cuts to food stamp program too much". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved October 24, 2013. 
  27. ^ King, Angus (April 11, 2013). "Angus King presents his position on gun control". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved April 18, 2013. 
  28. ^ Kevin Miller (April 14, 2013). "Collins, King support gun law". Kennebec Journal. Retrieved October 28, 2013. 
  29. ^ "U.S. Senate: Legislation & Records Home > Votes > S.Amdt.1974". Retrieved 2013-09-27. 
  30. ^ "Right-wing extremists “are guilty of murder,” Sen. Angus King tells Salon". Retrieved 2013-09-30. 
  31. ^ Long, Robert (March 1, 2013). "King, Pingree and Michaud want courts to strike federal ban on same-sex marriage". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved April 7, 2013. 
  32. ^ Hosenball, Mark (January 20, 2014). "US studying rescue plans in case of crisis at Olympics; Sen. Angus King says he ‘would not go’ to Sochi". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 

Further reading[edit]

Governor (1995-2003)

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
John McKernan
Governor of Maine
Succeeded by
John Baldacci
United States Senate
Preceded by
Olympia Snowe
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Maine
Served alongside: Susan Collins
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Martin Heinrich
D-New Mexico
United States Senators by seniority
Succeeded by
Tim Kaine