Janet Mills

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Janet Mills
Maine congressional delegation meets with Gov Janet Mills (cropped).jpg
75th Governor of Maine
Assumed office
January 2, 2019
Preceded byPaul LePage
55th and 57th Attorney General of Maine
In office
January 7, 2013 – January 2, 2019
GovernorPaul LePage
Preceded byWilliam Schneider
Succeeded byAaron Frey
In office
January 6, 2009 – January 6, 2011
GovernorJohn Baldacci
Preceded bySteven Rowe
Succeeded byWilliam Schneider
Personal details
Janet Trafton Mills

(1947-12-30) December 30, 1947 (age 72)
Farmington, Maine, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Stanley Kuklinski
(m. 1985; died 2014)
RelativesPeter Mills (brother)
ResidenceBlaine House
EducationColby College
University of Massachusetts Boston (BA)
University of Maine School of Law (JD)
WebsiteGovernment website
Campaign website

Janet Trafton Mills (born December 30, 1947) is an American lawyer and politician serving as the 75th Governor of Maine, since January 2019. She previously served as the Attorney General of Maine on two separate occasions.

A member of the Democratic Party, Mills was first elected Maine Attorney General by the Maine Legislature on January 6, 2009, succeeding G. Steven Rowe. Her second term began on January 3, 2013, after the term of Republican William Schneider. She is the first woman to hold the position of Attorney General of Maine. Prior to her election, she served in the Maine House of Representatives representing the towns of Farmington and Industry. She was nominated by her party for Governor of Maine in the 2018 gubernatorial election. She won the November general election, defeating Republican Shawn Moody and Independent Terry Hayes. On January 2, 2019, she became the first female Governor of Maine.[1]

Early life[edit]

Mills was born in Farmington, Maine, the daughter of Katherine Louise (Coffin) and Sumner Peter Mills Jr.[2] Her mother was a schoolteacher, and her father was a lawyer who served as U.S. Attorney for Maine in the 1950s.[3] Mills graduated from Farmington High School in 1965. As a teenager, she spent nearly a year bedridden in a full-body cast due to severe scoliosis, which was corrected surgically.[4]

She briefly attended Colby College before moving to San Francisco,[3] where she worked as a nursing assistant in a psychiatric hospital.[2] She later enrolled at the University of Massachusetts Boston, from which she graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in 1970.[3] During her time at UMass, Mills traveled through Western Europe and became fluent in French.[5] In 1973 she began attendance at the University of Maine School of Law[3] and in 1974 she was a summer intern in Washington, D.C. for civil rights attorney Charles Morgan Jr. of the American Civil Liberties Union.[3] Mills graduated with a JD in 1976 and was admitted to the bar.[3]

Early political career[edit]

Mills was Maine's first female criminal prosecutor and was an assistant attorney general from 1976 to 1980, prosecuting homicides and other major crimes. In 1980, she was elected district attorney for Androscoggin, Franklin and Oxford counties, a position to which she was re-elected three times. She was the first woman district attorney in Maine, as well as the first woman district attorney in New England.[6][7] In 1994, Mills was an unsuccessful candidate for the United States Congress in the Democratic primary to replace then Republican congresswoman Olympia Snowe. She placed 3rd, losing to John Baldacci.

Mills was a co-founder of the Maine Women's Lobby and was elected to its board of directors in 1998.[8]

In 2002, Mills was elected to the Maine House of Representatives as a Democrat. During this time, she served on the judiciary, criminal justice, and appropriations committees.

Attorney General of Maine[edit]

Mills was elected to her fourth term when the Joint Convention convened in December 2008 to elect the new Attorney General. Out of several candidates, she was elected and became the 55th Attorney General of Maine on January 6, 2009.[9] When Republicans gained control of the Maine Legislature in 2010, Mills, a Democrat, was not reelected to another term. In January 2011, she was elected vice chair of the Maine Democratic Party.[10] She joined the law firm Preti Flaherty in February 2011 as a lawyer with the firm's Litigation Group in its Augusta, Maine office.[11] When Democrats regained control of the legislature in the 2012 elections, she was again chosen to be attorney general, resigned as vice chair of the Maine Democratic Party,[12] and took the oath of office as attorney general on January 7, 2013.[13] She was re-elected to her position on December 3, 2014, despite the Maine Senate coming under Republican control.[14]

Republican Governor Paul LePage opposed Mills being attorney general, due to many disputes between them over the legality of some of LePage's policies.[15] On January 28, 2015, LePage requested the Maine Supreme Judicial Court give its opinion as to whether it was legal for the Governor's office to need the permission of the Attorney General's office to retain outside counsel when the Attorney General declines to represent the State in a legal matter. LePage did so after two instances of Mills declining to represent LePage in matters which she determined had little legal merit, though she approved his requests to have outside lawyers.[16] On May 1, 2017, LePage filed a lawsuit against Mills, asserting that Mills had abused her authority when refusing to represent the state in legal matters, or taking a legal view contrary to that of the LePage administration.[17]

Governor of Maine[edit]


On July 10, 2017, Mills announced that she would be seeking the Democratic Party nomination for Governor of Maine in 2018.[18] She was one of several candidates in the Democratic primary for governor in 2018. She won the nomination in June, finishing first after four rounds of ranked choice voting gave her 54% to her closest competitor's 46%.[19]

In the general election, Mills faced Republican businessman Shawn Moody, independent Maine State Treasurer Terry Hayes and independent businessman Alan Caron. Endorsed by every major newspaper in Maine and the Boston Globe, buoyed by major ad buys from Democratic political action committees and receiving the endorsement of Caron a week before the polls closed, Mills won the election with 50.9% and 43.2% for Moody. She became the first female Governor of Maine, the first Maine gubernatorial candidate to be elected with at least 50% of the vote since Angus King in 1998 and the first to win at least 50% of the vote for a first term since Kenneth M. Curtis in 1966. She received over 320,000 votes, more than any governor in the state's history.[20]

Mills' campaign was aided in part by a Democratic super PAC which financed Maine-themed clickbait ads meant to attract young voters on social media.[21] Both Mills and outside groups outspent her closest contender, Republican candidate Shawn Moody, by an average of $15 per vote cast for a grand total of $10.7 million. These numbers, however, are less than those of the 2nd District Congressional race of the same year, where Democrat Jared Golden spent $131 per vote cast, and incumbent Republican Bruce Poliquin spent on average $95 per vote.[22]


One of Mills' first acts as governor was to sign an executive order to carry out the expansion of Maine's Medicaid program as called for by a 2017 referendum, something LePage had refused to do. This fulfilled a major campaign pledge.[23] Mills also dropped work requirements for Medicaid that her predecessor LePage had requested towards the end of his tenure and which had the approval of the Trump Administration. She said the work requirements "leave more Maine people uninsured without improving their participation in the workforce".[24]

Mills revived the tradition of Maine governors attending Martin Luther King Day commemoration events in Portland, doing so in 2019.[25]

In September, 2019, Mills was asked by United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to speak at the General Assembly on the subject of climate change. Mills told world leaders at the United Nations that she intends to make Maine carbon neutral by 2045.[26] She was the first sitting Maine governor to address the General Assembly.[27]

Political positions[edit]

LGBT rights[edit]

Mills supports LGBT rights. In May 2019, she signed a bill banning conversion therapy, the pseudoscientific practice aimed at changing one's sexual orientation or gender identity, from being used on minors.[28][29][30] One year earlier, the same bill had passed both chambers of the Maine Legislature, but was vetoed by then-Governor Paul LePage.[31]

Tribal relations[edit]

Mills has taken steps to improve relations with Maine's native tribes, despite her prior rocky relationship with them as Attorney General. This includes signing a bill to replace the Columbus Day state holiday with Indigenous People's Day, and pledging to work to fill seats on a state-tribal commission that had been left empty under her predecessor.[32] She also signed a bill to establish stricter water quality standards for rivers used by Maine's tribes for sustenance fishing, something long sought by the tribes. It also ended a legal dispute between the tribes and the state, for which Mills as Attorney General had defended the state's position.[33]

As Governor-Elect, she stated that the use of Native American imagery and nomenclature associated with Maine School District 54 and it's Skowhegan establishment as being "a source of pain and anguish" for the state's Indigenous population.[34] After officially assuming office, she signed into law a measure to ban the use of such references in public schools.[35]


Mills has taken steps to expand access to abortion procedures, signing legislation to mandate that both public and private insurance agencies include abortion procedures within the scope of their coverage.[36]

The environment[edit]

Mills has enacted regulations to curb the use of materials that harm the environment. One such policy includes prohibiting the use of plastic bags by Maine retailers set to go into effect on 22 April 2020.[37] She also signed into law a ban on the use of styrofoam containers by various industries within the state. This regulation will become effective 1 January 2021.[38]

In 2019, the Central Maine Power Company was granted all necessary permissions to begin work on a corridor running from Beattie Township to a power grid in Lewistion, Maine.[39] Despite Mills' initial skepticism of the proposal and pushback among critics, changes to the budget caused Mills to sign the agreement.[40][41]

Mills has also enacted regulatory standards for the quality of water on Indigenous reservations used for sustenance fishing.[33]

During her remarks at the UN General Assembly, Mills pledged that Maine would have a carbon-neutral economy by 2045.[42]


In 1985 Mills married real estate developer Stanley Kuklinski, with whom she had five stepdaughters and three grandsons and two granddaughters. Kuklinski died due to the effects of a stroke on September 24, 2014.[43] She is the sister of Peter Mills, a former Republican state senator and gubernatorial candidate in 2006 and 2010.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Janet Mills wins race to succeed LePage as Maine's next governor". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Janet Mills' mission: Break yet another glass ceiling - Journal Tribune". September 23, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Nicoll, Don (December 20, 1999). "Mills, Janet oral history interview". Bates.edu. Lewiston, ME: Bates College. p. 2.
  4. ^ "Janet Mills' family looking forward to inauguration". WCSH. Retrieved March 5, 2019.
  5. ^ Solloway, Steve (October 30, 2018). "The rebel with a cause: Supporters believe Janet Mills' experience, family legacy and legal mind have prepared her well to be Maine's first female governor". Pine Tree Watch. Hallowell, ME.
  6. ^ "Office of the Maine AG: Biography of Attorney General Janet T. Mills". maine.gov. Retrieved February 6, 2017.
  7. ^ Woodard, Colin (September 16, 2018). "Janet Mills' mission: Break yet another glass ceiling". Portland Press Herald. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  8. ^ "Mills elected to Maine Women's Lobby board". Sun Journal. December 22, 1998.
  9. ^ Harrison, Judy (January 6, 2009). "Janet Mills takes oath as Maine's first female AG". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved September 6, 2018.
  10. ^ "Portland lawyer chosen as Maine Dems chairman". Bangor Daily News. January 24, 2011.
  11. ^ "Former Maine Attorney General Janet Mills Joins Preti Flaherty", Preti Flaherty
  12. ^ "Ben Grant Re-Elected as Chair of the Maine Democratic Party". Maine Democratic Party.
  13. ^ "Maine constitutional officials to take oaths". Central Maine. January 7, 2013.
  14. ^ Mistler, Steve (December 4, 2014). "Hayes wins election as state treasurer". Kennebec Journal. Retrieved September 6, 2018.
  15. ^ Cousins, Christopher (December 5, 2014). "Split Legislature creates uncertain re-election path for Democrats in Maine constitutional offices". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved November 26, 2014.
  16. ^ Moretto, Mario (January 28, 2015). "Maine high court to weigh questions about AG Mills' refusal to represent LePage". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  17. ^ Cousins, Christopher (May 1, 2017). "LePage sues attorney general for not representing his legal positions". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved May 1, 2017.
  18. ^ Thistle, Scott (July 10, 2017). "Maine Attorney General Janet Mills enters 2018 race for governor - Portland Press Herald". Press Herald. Retrieved July 15, 2017.
  19. ^ Shepherd, Michael (June 20, 2018). "Mills wins Maine Democratic gubernatorial nomination after ranked-choice count". Bangor Daily News. Bangor, ME.
  20. ^ "Gov.-elect Janet Mills announces transition team - Portland Press Herald". Press Herald. November 10, 2017. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  21. ^ Gallagher, Noel K. (September 7, 2018). "Democratic super PAC spends almost $500,000 to back Janet Mills for Governor - Portland Press Herald". Press Herald. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  22. ^ Gallagher, Noel K. (November 18, 2018). "Most per vote, $131, spent on Golden in 2nd District - Portland Press Herald". Press Herald. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  23. ^ Lawlor, Joe (January 3, 2019). "Mills' 'Executive Order 1' makes 70,000 more Mainers eligible for health insurance". Kennebec Journal. Retrieved January 6, 2019.
  24. ^ Writer, Joe LawlorStaff (January 22, 2019). "Maine Gov. Mills rejects work requirements LePage sought for Medicaid". Press Herald. Retrieved January 29, 2019.
  25. ^ York, Samantha (January 21, 2019). "Mills is first governor to attend Portland MLK event in 8 years". newscentermaine.com. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  26. ^ Woodard, Colin (September 23, 2019). "In address, Gov. Mills vows Maine will be carbon neutral by 2045, and challenges others". Portland Press Herald. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  27. ^ Shepherd, Michael (September 23, 2019). "In UN address, Janet Mills pledges Maine will be carbon-neutral by 2045". bangordailynews.com. Retrieved September 24, 2019.
  28. ^ Mills, Governor Janet (May 9, 2019). "I look forward to signing it! It is time for all LGBTQ people in Maine to know they are valued and respected.https://twitter.com/RyanFecteau/status/1126511675333541888 …". External link in |title= (help)
  29. ^ Mills, Governor Janet (May 29, 2019). "Today I signed into law a bill banning conversion therapy, a widely-discredited practice that has no place in Maine. Today, we send an unequivocal message to young LGBTQ people: we stand with you, we support you, and we will always defend your right to be who you are.pic.twitter.com/heInzibvFJ".
  30. ^ "Gay conversion therapy for minors: Maine becomes the 17th state to ban the practice". USA Today. May 29, 2019.
  31. ^ Thomsen, Jacqueline (July 6, 2018). "Maine governor vetoes bill that would ban conversion therapy". The Hill.
  32. ^ Mistler, Steve (April 26, 2019). "Mills And State Of Maine Take Steps To Improve Relationships With Maine's Native Tribes". mainepublic.com. Retrieved April 27, 2019.
  33. ^ a b Sharon, Susan (June 21, 2019). "New Measure Establishes Water Quality Standards For Sustenance Fishing In Maine's Tribal Waters". mainepublic.com. Retrieved June 22, 2019.
  34. ^ Harlow, Doug (December 6, 2018). "Gov.-elect Mills weighs in on Skowhegan schools' Indians nickname". Morning Setinel. Retrieved August 24, 2019.
  35. ^ Acquisto, Alex (May 16, 2019). "Mills signs bill to make Maine the first state to ban Native American school mascots". bangordailynews.com. Retrieved August 24, 2019.
  36. ^ "Gov. Mills signs bill to make public, private insurers cover abortions". wgme.com. Sinclair Broadcast Group. Retrieved July 26, 2019.
  37. ^ Dennis, Hoey. "Gov. Mills signs bill to ban single-use plastic bags". pressherald.com. Press Herald. Retrieved July 26, 2019.
  38. ^ Mezzofiore, Gianluca. "Maine becomes the first state to ban Styrofoam". cnn.com. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. Retrieved July 26, 2019.
  39. ^ Keefe, Josh. "What you need to know about the CMP transmission line proposed for Maine". bangordailynews.com. Bangor Publishing Company. Retrieved July 26, 2019.
  40. ^ Valigra, Lori. "Here are details of the deal that won Janet Mills' support for $1 billion CMP project". bangordailynews.com. Bangor Publishing Company. Retrieved July 26, 2019.
  41. ^ Terkel, Tux. "Mills throws her support behind CMP's controversial plan for transmission line". necleanenergyconnect.org. Retrieved July 26, 2019.
  42. ^ "Read Gov. Janet Mills' full address to the United Nations". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved September 24, 2019.
  43. ^ Koenig, Paul (September 29, 2014). "Husband of Maine attorney general dies from effects of stroke". Portland Press Herald. Retrieved December 4, 2014.

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Steven Rowe
Attorney General of Maine
Succeeded by
William Schneider
Preceded by
William Schneider
Attorney General of Maine
Succeeded by
Aaron Frey
Party political offices
Preceded by
Mike Michaud
Democratic nominee for Governor of Maine
Most recent
Political offices
Preceded by
Paul LePage
Governor of Maine
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Mike Pence
as Vice President
Order of Precedence of the United States
Within Maine
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in which event is held
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Otherwise Nancy Pelosi
as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Kay Ivey
as Governor of Alabama
Order of Precedence of the United States
Outside Maine
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Mike Parson
as Governor of Missouri