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
Member of the Maine House of Representatives
In office
December 1, 2004 – January 6, 2009
Preceded byLillian LaFontaine O'Brien
Succeeded byLance Harvell
Constituency89th district
In office
December 4, 2002 – December 1, 2004
Preceded byWalter Gooley
Succeeded byRobert Nutting
Constituency78th district
District Attorney of Androscoggin, Franklin, and Oxford Counties
In office
1980 – January 1995
Appointed byJoseph E. Brennan
Preceded byThomas E. Delahanty II
Succeeded byNorman Croteau
Personal details
Born
Janet Trafton Mills

(1947-12-30) December 30, 1947 (age 74)
Farmington, Maine, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)
Stanley Kuklinski
(m. 1985; died 2014)
RelativesPeter Mills (brother)
Residence(s)Blaine House
EducationColby College
University of Massachusetts Boston (BA)
University of Maine (JD)
WebsiteGovernment website
Campaign website

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

A member of the Democratic Party, Mills was first elected 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 William Schneider. She was the first woman to hold the position. Before her election, she served in the Maine House of Representatives, representing the towns of Farmington and Industry. Her party nominated her for governor in the 2018 election, and she won, defeating Republican Shawn Moody and independent Terry Hayes. On January 2, 2019, she became Maine's first female governor.[1]

Early life and education[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]

Mills 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 attending 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 reelected three times. She was 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-Representative Olympia Snowe. She placed third, losing to John Baldacci.

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

In 2000, Mills served as a field coordinator for Bill Bradley's 2000 presidential campaign in Maine.[9] In 2002, she was elected to the Maine House of Representatives. There, 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. She became Maine's 55th attorney general on January 6, 2009.[10] When Republicans gained control of the Maine legislature in 2010, Mills, was not reelected. In January 2011, she was elected vice chair of the Maine Democratic Party.[11] She joined the law firm Preti Flaherty in February 2011 as a lawyer with the firm's Litigation Group in its Augusta office.[12] After Democrats regained control of the legislature in the 2012 elections, Mills was again chosen as attorney general, resigned as vice chair of the Maine Democratic Party,[13] and took the oath of office as attorney general on January 7, 2013.[14] She was reelected on December 3, 2014, despite the Maine Senate coming under Republican control.[15]

Republican Governor Paul LePage opposed Mills being attorney general, due to many disputes between them over the legality of some of LePage's policies.[16] On January 28, 2015, he requested the Maine Supreme Judicial Court's opinion as to whether the governor's office needed the attorney general's office's permission to retain outside counsel when the attorney general declines to represent the State in a legal matter. LePage did so after Mills twice declined to represent him in matters she determined had little legal merit, though she approved his requests for outside lawyers.[17] On May 1, 2017, LePage sued Mills, asserting that she had abused her authority by refusing to represent the state in legal matters, or taking a legal view contrary to the LePage administration's.[18]

Governor of Maine[edit]

Elections[edit]

2018[edit]

On July 10, 2017, Mills announced that she would seek the Democratic nomination for governor of Maine in 2018.[19] One of several candidates in the primary, she won the nomination in June, finishing first after four rounds of ranked-choice voting gave her 54% to her closest competitor's 46%.[20]

In the general election, Mills faced Republican nominee 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 Caron's endorsement a week before the polls closed, Mills was elected with 50.9% of the vote to Moody's 43.2%. She became Maine's first female governor, 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.[21]

Mills's campaign was aided in part by a Democratic super PAC that financed Maine-themed ads meant to attract young voters on social media.[22] Both Mills and outside groups outspent Moody by an average of $15 per vote cast, for a total of $10.7 million.[23]

2022[edit]

Mills has announced that she will seek reelection in 2022.[24] She faced no opposition in the primaries, making her the Democratic nominee. She will face the Republican nominee, former governor Paul LePage, who also had no primary opposition.

Tenure[edit]

One of Mills's 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.[25] Mills also dropped work requirements for Medicaid that LePage requested toward the end of his tenure and that had the Trump Administration's approval. She said the work requirements "leave more Maine people uninsured without improving their participation in the workforce".[26]

Mills revived the tradition of Maine governors attending Martin Luther King Day commemoration events in Portland, doing so in 2019.[27]

In September 2019, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres asked Mills to speak at the General Assembly on climate change. Mills told world leaders at the UN that she intends to make Maine carbon neutral by 2045.[28] She was the first sitting Maine governor to address the General Assembly.[29]

On June 11, 2021, Mills announced the end of the state of emergency started on March 15, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[30][31] The state of emergency ended on June 30, 2021.[32]

On June 24, 2021, Mills vetoed seven bills, including one that would have closed the Long Creek Youth Development Center, a juvenile prison. The vetoes received harsh rebuke from progressive Democrats in the Legislature.[33]

On April 20, 2022, Mills signed into law the Maine state supplemental budget, which included free community college for students of the class of 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023.[34][35]

Political positions[edit]

Mills identifies as a moderate Democrat and has often broken the party line with other members of her caucus.[36]

Abortion[edit]

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.[37] After the leak of the 2022 Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, Mills reaffirmed her position that "unlike an apparent majority of the Supreme Court, I do not consider the rights of women to be dispensable."[38]

Drugs[edit]

Mills has expressed her opposition to the decriminalization of small possessions of drugs.[39]

Environmental issues[edit]

Mills has enacted regulations to curb the use of materials that harm the environment. One such policy, prohibiting the use of plastic bags by Maine retailers, went into effect on April 22, 2020.[40] She also signed into law a ban on the use of styrofoam containers by various industries within the state. This regulation became effective on January 1, 2021.[41]

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 Lewiston, Maine.[42] Despite Mills's initial skepticism of the proposal and pushback from critics, changes to the budget caused Mills to sign the agreement.[43][44]

Mills has also enacted regulatory standards for the quality of water on Indigenous reservations used for sustenance fishing.[45]

During her remarks at the UN General Assembly, Mills pledged that Maine would have a carbon-neutral economy by 2045.[46]

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, from being used on minors.[47][48][49] One year earlier, the same bill had passed both chambers of the Maine Legislature, but was vetoed by then-Governor Paul LePage.[50] In June 2021, she officially declared June LGBTQ+ Pride Month.[51]

Sports betting[edit]

Mills has expressed her opposition to the regulation of sports betting.[52]

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.[53] 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.[45]

As governor-elect, Mills said that the use of Native American imagery and nomenclature associated with Maine School District 54 and its Skowhegan establishment was "a source of pain and anguish" for the state's Indigenous population.[54] After taking office, she signed into law a measure to ban the use of such references in public schools.[55]

Personal life[edit]

In 1985, Mills married real estate developer Stanley Kuklinski, with whom she had five stepdaughters and three stepgrandsons and two stepgranddaughters. Kuklinski died due to the effects of a stroke on September 24, 2014.[56] She is the sister of Peter Mills (a former Republican state senator and gubernatorial candidate in 2006 and 2010), Dora Anne Mills, and Paul Mills.[57]

Electoral history[edit]

2018 Maine gubernatorial election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Janet Mills 320,962 50.9
Republican Shawn Moody 272,311 43.2
Independent Terry Hayes 37,268 5.9
2022 Maine gubernatorial Democratic primary
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Janet Mills (incumbent) 74,311 100
2022 Maine gubernatorial election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Janet Mills (incumbent) TBD TBD
Republican Paul LePage TBD TBD

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Janet Mills wins race to succeed LePage as Maine's next governor". Bangor Daily News. Archived from the original on November 7, 2018. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Janet Mills' mission: Break yet another glass ceiling - Journal Tribune". September 23, 2018. Archived from the original on September 24, 2018. Retrieved November 11, 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. Archived from the original on November 29, 2018. Retrieved November 29, 2018.
  4. ^ "Janet Mills' family looking forward to inauguration". WCSH. Archived from the original on March 6, 2019. 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. Archived from the original on November 30, 2018. Retrieved November 30, 2018.
  6. ^ "Office of the Maine AG: Biography of Attorney General Janet T. Mills". maine.gov. Archived from the original on March 26, 2012. Retrieved February 6, 2017.
  7. ^ Woodard, Colin (September 16, 2018). "Janet Mills' mission: Break yet another glass ceiling". Portland Press Herald. Archived from the original on November 19, 2018. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  8. ^ "Mills elected to Maine Women's Lobby board". Sun Journal. December 22, 1998.
  9. ^ "Wayback Machine". Wayback Machine. Retrieved May 17, 2022. {{cite web}}: Check |archive-url= value (help)CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  10. ^ Harrison, Judy (January 6, 2009). "Janet Mills takes oath as Maine's first female AG". Bangor Daily News. Archived from the original on September 13, 2017. Retrieved September 6, 2018.
  11. ^ "Portland lawyer chosen as Maine Dems chairman". Bangor Daily News. January 24, 2011. Archived from the original on August 9, 2015. Retrieved February 12, 2015.
  12. ^ "Former Maine Attorney General Janet Mills Joins Preti Flaherty" Archived February 12, 2015, at the Wayback Machine, Preti Flaherty
  13. ^ "Ben Grant Re-Elected as Chair of the Maine Democratic Party". Maine Democratic Party. Archived from the original on February 12, 2015. Retrieved February 12, 2015.
  14. ^ "Maine constitutional officials to take oaths". Central Maine. January 7, 2013.
  15. ^ Mistler, Steve (December 4, 2014). "Hayes wins election as state treasurer". Kennebec Journal. Archived from the original on August 9, 2018. Retrieved September 6, 2018.
  16. ^ Cousins, Christopher (December 5, 2014). "Split Legislature creates uncertain re-election path for Democrats in Maine constitutional offices". Bangor Daily News. Archived from the original on December 10, 2014. Retrieved November 26, 2014.
  17. ^ Moretto, Mario (January 28, 2015). "Maine high court to weigh questions about AG Mills' refusal to represent LePage". Bangor Daily News. Archived from the original on August 1, 2015. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  18. ^ Cousins, Christopher (May 1, 2017). "LePage sues attorney general for not representing his legal positions". Bangor Daily News. Archived from the original on May 7, 2017. Retrieved May 1, 2017.
  19. ^ Thistle, Scott (July 10, 2017). "Maine Attorney General Janet Mills enters 2018 race for governor - Portland Press Herald". Press Herald. Archived from the original on July 13, 2017. Retrieved July 15, 2017.
  20. ^ Shepherd, Michael (June 20, 2018). "Mills wins Maine Democratic gubernatorial nomination after ranked-choice count". Bangor Daily News. Bangor, ME. Archived from the original on December 29, 2019. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
  21. ^ "Gov.-elect Janet Mills announces transition team - Portland Press Herald". Press Herald. November 10, 2017. Archived from the original on November 18, 2018. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  22. ^ Gallagher, Noel K. (September 7, 2018). "Democratic super PAC spends almost $500,000 to back Janet Mills for Governor - Portland Press Herald". Press Herald. Archived from the original on November 20, 2018. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  23. ^ Gallagher, Noel K. (November 18, 2018). "Most per vote, $131, spent on Golden in 2nd District - Portland Press Herald". Press Herald. Archived from the original on November 18, 2018. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  24. ^ Andrews, Caitlin (September 15, 2021). "Most Mainers like Janet Mills' pandemic policies. Paul LePage is still a tough matchup". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved September 15, 2021.
  25. ^ Lawlor, Joe (January 3, 2019). "Mills' 'Executive Order 1' makes 70,000 more Mainers eligible for health insurance". Kennebec Journal. Archived from the original on January 4, 2019. Retrieved January 6, 2019.
  26. ^ Writer, Joe LawlorStaff (January 22, 2019). "Maine Gov. Mills rejects work requirements LePage sought for Medicaid". Press Herald. Archived from the original on January 29, 2019. Retrieved January 29, 2019.
  27. ^ York, Samantha (January 21, 2019). "Mills is first governor to attend Portland MLK event in 8 years". newscentermaine.com. Archived from the original on January 23, 2019. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  28. ^ Woodard, Colin (September 23, 2019). "In address, Gov. Mills vows Maine will be carbon neutral by 2045, and challenges others". Portland Press Herald. Archived from the original on September 25, 2019. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  29. ^ Shepherd, Michael (September 23, 2019). "In UN address, Janet Mills pledges Maine will be carbon-neutral by 2045". bangordailynews.com. Archived from the original on September 24, 2019. Retrieved September 24, 2019.
  30. ^ "Governor Mills Announces State of Civil Emergency To End June 30th | Office of Governor Janet T. Mills". www.maine.gov. Retrieved November 12, 2021.
  31. ^ "What the end of Janet Mills' state of emergency means for Maine". Bangor Daily News. June 30, 2021. Retrieved November 12, 2021.
  32. ^ "Governor Mills Welcomes End of State of Civil Emergency | Office of Governor Janet T. Mills". www.maine.gov. Retrieved November 12, 2021.
  33. ^ Caitlin, Andrews (June 24, 2021). "Janet Mills' veto spree begins, dooming bills to close youth jail and limit pro-corridor spending". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved June 26, 2021.
  34. ^ Hogan, Norah (April 22, 2022). "Community college will be free for some Maine students". WMTW. Retrieved April 24, 2022.
  35. ^ WGME (April 21, 2022). "Maine community colleges to offer free tuition for pandemic-affected students". WGME. Retrieved April 24, 2022.
  36. ^ "Maine governor vetoes bill to shutter youth detention center". Associated Press. June 24, 2021. Retrieved June 26, 2021.
  37. ^ "Gov. Mills signs bill to make public, private insurers cover abortions". wgme.com. Sinclair Broadcast Group. June 13, 2019. Archived from the original on June 15, 2019. Retrieved July 26, 2019.
  38. ^ Burns, Christopher (May 3, 2022). "Janet Mills vows to defend abortion rights after draft Supreme Court decision leaks". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved May 5, 2022.
  39. ^ Andrews, Caitlin (June 17, 2021). "Maine Legislature bucks Janet Mills, police in voting to decriminalize drug possession". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved June 20, 2021.
  40. ^ Dennis, Hoey (June 17, 2019). "Gov. Mills signs bill to ban single-use plastic bags". pressherald.com. Press Herald. Archived from the original on July 26, 2019. Retrieved July 26, 2019.
  41. ^ Mezzofiore, Gianluca. "Maine becomes the first state to ban Styrofoam". cnn.com. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. Archived from the original on May 25, 2019. Retrieved July 26, 2019.
  42. ^ Keefe, Josh (January 29, 2019). "What you need to know about the CMP transmission line proposed for Maine". bangordailynews.com. Bangor Publishing Company. Archived from the original on July 26, 2019. Retrieved July 26, 2019.
  43. ^ Valigra, Lori (February 21, 2019). "Here are details of the deal that won Janet Mills' support for $1 billion CMP project". bangordailynews.com. Bangor Publishing Company. Archived from the original on July 26, 2019. Retrieved July 26, 2019.
  44. ^ Terkel, Tux. "Mills throws her support behind CMP's controversial plan for transmission line". necleanenergyconnect.org. Archived from the original on July 26, 2019. Retrieved July 26, 2019.
  45. ^ a b Sharon, Susan (June 21, 2019). "New Measure Establishes Water Quality Standards For Sustenance Fishing In Maine's Tribal Waters". mainepublic.com. Archived from the original on June 22, 2019. Retrieved June 22, 2019.
  46. ^ "Read Gov. Janet Mills' full address to the United Nations". Bangor Daily News. September 23, 2019. Archived from the original on September 24, 2019. Retrieved September 24, 2019.
  47. ^ @GovJanetMills (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" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  48. ^ 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".
  49. ^ "Gay conversion therapy for minors: Maine becomes the 17th state to ban the practice". USA Today. May 29, 2019. Archived from the original on May 29, 2019. Retrieved May 29, 2019.
  50. ^ Thomsen, Jacqueline (July 6, 2018). "Maine governor vetoes bill that would ban conversion therapy". The Hill. Archived from the original on May 29, 2019. Retrieved May 29, 2019.
  51. ^ "Proclamations | Office of Governor Janet T. Mills". www.maine.gov. Retrieved June 15, 2021.
  52. ^ WGME (April 20, 2022). "Sports betting bill heads to Gov. Mills' desk". WPFO. Retrieved April 24, 2022.
  53. ^ Mistler, Steve (April 26, 2019). "Mills And State Of Maine Take Steps To Improve Relationships With Maine's Native Tribes". mainepublic.com. Archived from the original on April 27, 2019. Retrieved April 27, 2019.
  54. ^ Harlow, Doug (December 6, 2018). "Gov.-elect Mills weighs in on Skowhegan schools' Indians nickname". Morning Setinel. Archived from the original on October 11, 2019. Retrieved August 24, 2019.
  55. ^ Acquisto, Alex (May 16, 2019). "Mills signs bill to make Maine the first state to ban Native American school mascots". bangordailynews.com. Archived from the original on June 16, 2019. Retrieved August 24, 2019.
  56. ^ Koenig, Paul (September 29, 2014). "Husband of Maine attorney general dies from effects of stroke". Portland Press Herald. Archived from the original on December 9, 2014. Retrieved December 4, 2014.
  57. ^ Writer, Tom BellStaff (September 29, 2015). "Maine's Mills siblings hailed for lives of service". Press Herald. Retrieved June 24, 2021.

External links[edit]


Maine House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the Maine House of Representatives
from the 78th district

2002–2004
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Lillian LaFontaine O'Brien
Member of the Maine House of Representatives
from the 89th district

2004–2009
Succeeded by
Legal offices
Preceded by Attorney General of Maine
2009–2011
Succeeded by
Preceded by
William Schneider
Attorney General of Maine
2013–2019
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by Democratic nominee for Governor of Maine
2018, 2022
Most recent
Political offices
Preceded by Governor of Maine
2019–present
Incumbent
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded byas Vice President Order of precedence of the United States
Within Maine
Succeeded by
Mayor of city
in which event is held
Succeeded by
Preceded byas Governor of Alabama Order of precedence of the United States
Outside Maine
Succeeded byas Governor of Missouri