|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maine's 1st district
January 3, 2009
|Preceded by||Tom Allen|
April 2, 1955 |
Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Charlie Pingree (divorced)
Donald Sussman (divorced)
|Alma mater||University of Southern Maine
College of the Atlantic
|Awards||Maine Women's Hall of Fame, 2001|
Chellie Pingree / / (born April 2, 1955) is an American politician. She is a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives, representing Maine's 1st congressional district since 2009. The district includes most of the southern part of the state, including Portland and Augusta.
Pingree was a member of the Maine Senate from 1992 to 2000, serving as majority leader from 1996 to 2000. She was an unsuccessful candidate for the United States Senate in 2002, losing to Republican Susan Collins. From 2003-06, she was President and CEO of Common Cause. She is the first Democratic woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Maine.
- 1 Early life, education, and early career
- 2 Common Cause
- 3 Maine Senate
- 4 2002 run for U.S. Senate
- 5 U.S. House of Representatives
- 6 Political positions
- 7 Electoral history
- 8 Personal life
- 9 References
- 10 External links
- 11 Sources
Early life, education, and early career
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Pingree was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota and moved to Maine as a teenager. She attended the University of Southern Maine and graduated from College of the Atlantic with a degree in Human Ecology. Since graduating from College of the Atlantic, she has resided in North Haven, a small island community 12 miles off the coast of Rockland.
Pingree held various farming and care-taking jobs until 1981, when she started North Island Yarn, a cottage industry of hand knitters with a retail store on North Haven. Her business expanded and became North Island Designs, employing as many as ten workers. They began marketing knitting kits and pattern books nationwide through 1,200 retail stores and 100,000 mail order catalogues. Through North Island Designs, Pingree authored and produced five knitting books between 1986 and 1992. Eisenhower Fellowships selected Chellie Pingree as a USA Eisenhower Fellow in 1997.
As the leader of Common Cause, Pingree strengthened the organization's programs in media reform and elections, while maintaining programs in ethics and money in politics. Among the specific issues she championed at Common Cause are Net Neutrality; Mandatory Voter-Verified Paper Ballots; Public Financing of Congressional Elections; National Popular Vote (a work-around of the Electoral College), and an Independent Ethics Commission for Congress. She stepped down from Common Cause in February 2007 to return to her home state and run for Congress in 2008.
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Pingree was first elected in 1992. She was outspoken against going to war against Iraq, although counseled by party insiders to avoid that subject. She won re-election in 1994 and 1996. In 2000, she was unable to seek re-election due to term limits.
During her tenure as a state legislator, Pingree gained nationwide headlines when she authored the nation's first bill regulating prescription drug prices, Maine Rx. Pingree also shepherded Maine's largest land-bill initiative, Land for Maine's Future.
2002 run for U.S. Senate
U.S. House of Representatives
In December 2007 she received the endorsement of 21st Century Democrats. She was endorsed by a number of labor organizations and many individuals and state officials, including Congressman Rush D. Holt, Jr.; Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky; Maine Senate Majority Leader Libby Mitchell; former Maine Senate Assistant Majority Leader Anne Rand; State Representative Paulette Beaudoin; State Representative Nancy Smith; progressive writer and activist Jim Hightower; the United Auto Workers; Planned Parenthood, and the League of Conservation Voters.
Pingree was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives on November 4, 2008. She was sworn into Congress on January 6, 2009.
In 2010, she ran for reelection, and won, defeating Republican challenger Dean Scontras by a 57–43 margin. She overcame strong anti-Democrat and anti-incumbent political sentiment to become just one of eight Democrats in the House of Representatives to receive a higher percentage of the vote than in 2008.
On February 29, 2012, an Associated Press story mentioned that Pingree was starting to circulate petitions to run for the U.S. Senate seat that was vacated by the retirement of Olympia Snowe, which she confirmed on The Rachel Maddow Show later that night. She withdrew her name from the race on March 7, indicating that she would run for re-election.
Soon after her election, she joined the Congressional Progressive Caucus, of which she is now vice-chairwoman. In September 2010, a video surfaced on the internet showing Pingree disembarking in a private jet at Portland International Jetport owned by her then-fiancé, hedge fund manager S. Donald Sussman. This drew criticism due to past statements made by Pingree critical of legislators using private aircraft. Pingree declined to respond. The House Ethics Committee, in a bipartisan letter, stated the travel was permissible under House ethics rules.
Pingree announced on April 26, 2013 that she would not run for Governor of Maine in the 2014 election. She stated that she was "happy" to serve in the House, and that the possibility of a three-way race also factored into her decision.
On May 23, 2013, Pingree introduced the York River Wild and Scenic River Study Act of 2013 (H.R. 2197; 113th Congress) into the United States House of Representatives. If passed, the bill would require the National Park Service (NPS) to study a segment of the York River in the state of Maine for potential addition to the Wild and Scenic Rivers System. The study would be to determine how the proposed designation would affect current recreational and commercial activities. The study would cost approximately $500,000.
- Committee on Appropriations (2013–Present)
- Committee on Agriculture (2009–2012)
- Committee on Armed Services (2009–2012)
Congressional Progressive Caucus (Vice-Chair)
On her campaign website, Pingree lists supporting small business in Maine, holding banks and credit cards accountable for consumer protection, increasing Maine manufacturing jobs and preventing the overseas outsourcing of these jobs as key elements of her economic strategy. Pingree's goals additionally include working towards health care reform, increasing women's rights and equality in the workplace, acquiring more sources of clean energy, and ending the war in Afghanistan.
Interest group ratings
Pingree consistently receives high approval ratings from labor, pro-choice, and environmental interest groups. In 2010, Pingree received a rating of 100% from the AFL-CIO, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and the League of Conservation Voters.
Pingree typically receives moderate to low approval ratings from socially and economically conservative groups such as the American Family Association and Citizens Against Government Waste, who in 2009 gave Pingree ratings of 0% and 1% respectively. In 2010 the American political magazine National Journal gave Pingree a Composite Conservative rating of 9%, and a Composite Liberal rating of 92%.
Pingree is opposed to granting the President fast track authority in negotiating trade agreements, having voted against doing so on June 12, 2015. Pingree stated that such agreements needed more transparency and debate, not less.
Pingree helped draft the Fair Elections Now Act, a proposal to provide public 'Fair Elections' funding for popular candidates who raised a sufficient number of small local contributions. Pingree has spoken out against the 2011 Supreme Court ruling McComish v. Bennett, which limited public financing systems for congressional candidate campaigns. The representative favors a campaign finance system that provides increased opportunities for candidates who lack the benefits of private interest and independent expenditure committee funding.
Pingree has consistently voted against resolutions promoting aggressive foreign policy. Pingree voted "yea" in March 2011 on a resolution to remove forces from Afghanistan. In June 2011, Pingree voted "yea" on House Resolution 292, preventing President Barack Obama from deploying ground forces in Libya.
In 2017 Pingree did not attend the inauguration of Donald Trump and instead visited a Planned Parenthood center and a business owned by immigrants. She attended the Women's March on Washington the following day and stood on stage with other politicians who had also refused to attend the inauguration. “We need to do everything we can to let the incoming administration know we are not happy about their agenda. I’ve had unprecedented numbers of my constituents calling me worried about healthcare, the environment, public education, and they feel disrespected,” she said.
|Chellie Pingree||Democratic||205,629||54.90%||Charlie Summers||Republican||168,930||45.10%|
|2010 ||Democratic||169,114||56.82%||Dean Scontras||Republican||128,501||43.17%||Other||Other||42||0.01%|
|2012 ||Democratic||236,363||64.79%||Jonathan Courtney||Republican||128,440||35.21%|
|2014 ||Democratic||186,309||60.3%||Isaac Misiuk||Republican||94,847||30.7%||Richard Murphy||Other||27,669||9.0%|
|Republican||Susan Collins (incumbent)||299,266||58.4|
Pingree has three children; the oldest, Hannah Pingree, is the Ex-Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives. On June 18, 2011, Pingree married S. Donald Sussman, a hedge fund manager, in a private ceremony at the couple's home in North Haven, Maine.
Until June 1, 2015, Sussman owned a 5% stake in MaineToday Media, the owners of the Portland Press Herald, Kennebec Journal, and Morning Sentinel, in addition to sitting on the board of directors. Articles in those papers that discussed Pingree carried a disclaimer noting her marriage to Sussman.
Sussman completed the sale of his stake in MaineToday Media on June 1.
Pingree released a statement on September 8, 2015, announcing her separation and beginning of divorce proceedings from Sussman. She called it an "amicable and truly mutual decision". The two divorced in the summer of 2016.
Pingree is a co-owner of the Nebo Lodge Inn & Restaurant on Maine's North Haven Island.
- "About Chellie". Retrieved 24 October 2014.
- Griffin, Walter (October 3, 2008). "Chellie Pingree: Maine island living shapes longtime politician's views". Bangor Daily News.
- Kyle, Bruce (November 10, 1994). "Hard wins, tough defeats for parties in Knox County". Bangor Daily News.
- Phinney, David (April 17, 2002). "House cancels Pingree's talk on Rx program". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
- "2002 ELECTION STATISTICS". house.gov. Retrieved 12 September 2015.
- Announcement to run for Congress Boston Globe, April 6, 2007; accessed 2008-03-05
- EMILY's List Announces Endorsement of Chellie Pingree for Maine 1st District EMILY'S List, press release Accessed 2008-03-05
- Chellie Pingree U.S. House, ME, emilyslist.org; accessed February 15, 2017.
- Pingree Announces Endorsements December 20, 2007; accessed 2008-03-05
- Complete list of endorsements ChelliePingree.com Accessed 2008-03-05
- "New Faces of Congress: The House", New York Times; accessed January 9, 2009.
- "Sen. Snowe's Retirement Causes Maine Scramble". The New York Times. February 29, 2012.
- Livingston, Abby (March 7, 2012). "Maine: Chellie Pingree Passes on Senate Bid". Roll Call.
- Russell, Eric (2010-09-24). "Pingree takes heat for rides on fiance's plane". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 2010-09-27.
- "Congresswoman Pingree's Travel Record Criticized". WPFO. 2010-09-24. Archived from the original on 2010-09-26. Retrieved 2010-09-27.
- Staff (2010-09-28). "Maine Rep. Chellie Pingree's jet travel cleared by ethics panel". Retrieved 2010-09-30.
- Kevin Miller (2013-04-27). "Chellie Pingree says she won't run for Maine governorl". Kennebec Journal. Retrieved 2013-04-27.
- "CBO – H.R. 2197". Congressional Budget Office. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
- "H.R. 2197 – Summary". United States Congress. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
- McDermott, Deborah (30 January 2013). "Renewed effort aims to designate York River 'Wild and Scenic'". Seacoast Online. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
- Issues "Pingree's campaign website" Accessed 2011-11-20
- Chellie Pingree: Interest Group Rating. Project Vote Smart. Accessed 2011-11-20
- "Pingree, Poliquin block Obama's desired fast-track on trade deal". Bangor Daily News. 2015-06-12. Retrieved 2015-06-12.
- Pingree, Chellie (June 27, 2011). "Congress needs Fair Elections Now". The Hill.
- "Chellie Pingree: Key Votes". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved March 8, 2012.
- Walters, Joanna (January 20, 2017). "Women's March organizers prepare for hundreds of thousands of protesters". The Guardian. Retrieved January 23, 2017.
- "ME – District 1 Race – Nov 04, 2008". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
- "ME – District 1 Race – Nov 02, 2010". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
- "ME – District 1 Race- Nov 06, 2012". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
- "Maine Election Results 2014". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 January 2016.
- Riskind, Jonathan. "Pingree, Sussman wed". Portland Press Herald. Retrieved June 20, 2011.
- "Chellie Pingree's husband gives boost to MaineToday Media". Bangor Daily News. February 10, 2012. Retrieved May 18, 2014.
- "Pingree's letter to federal regulators protests Comcast, Time Warner merger – The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram". The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. Retrieved September 12, 2015.
- "Midcoast owner completes purchase of MaineToday newspapers". Bangor Daily News. June 1, 2015. Retrieved June 2, 2015.
- "Maine Democrats find help elsewhere after megadonor's exit". Portland Press Herald. Retrieved November 16, 2016.
- Sekules, Kate. "Maine Vacation: An Amazing Ultra-Locavore Lodge". Food & Wine Magazine. Retrieved May 6, 2013.
- Congresswoman Chellie Pingree official U.S. House site
- Wright, Virginia. "Maine's Newest Political Dynasty". Down East: The Magazine of Maine (January 2009).
|Party political offices|
|Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Maine
|United States House of Representatives|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maine's 1st congressional district
|United States order of precedence (ceremonial)|
|United States Representatives by seniority
|Maine's delegation(s) to the 111th–115th United States Congresses (ordered by seniority)|
|111th||Senate: O. Snowe | S. Collins||House: M. Michaud | C. Pinigree|
|112th||Senate: O. Snowe | S. Collins||House: M. Michaud | C. Pinigree|
|113th||Senate: S. Collins | A. King||House: M. Michaud | C. Pinigree|
|114th||Senate: S. Collins • A. King||House: C. Pinigree • B. Poliquin|
|115th||Senate: S. Collins • A. King||House: C. Pinigree • B. Poliquin|