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  • Former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell endorses Emily Cain, praises Hillary

    “Emily Cain is on the side of Maine’s working families," said Former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, seated directly next to Cain, on the left.

    By Ramona du Houx

    In Lewiston, former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell endorsed Emily Cain in her campaign for Maine's 2nd Congressional District.

    “Emily Cain is on the side of Maine’s working families. Emily has an incredible record of success breaking through partisan gridlock and special interests to reduce the burdens on Mainers and stop our jobs from going overseas. Her bipartisan work with Governor LePage to pass balanced budgets with tax cuts for families and businesses was exemplary, and in Congress she will be an effective and tireless advocate for working Mainers,” said Senator Mitchell.

    Together, they visited with voters at Simones' Hot Dog Stand, held a rally and toured the L/A Museum.

    The museum is dedicated to preserving the economic and social history of the L/A area, and both Emily and Senator Mitchell spoke about growing jobs at home instead of letting jobs migrate overseas and how we must retake control of our economic future.

    He commented about Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's presidental run.

    “She’ll be able to hit the ground running and deal with the many serious issues that we face in our country,” said Mitchell. “Trump wants to take the country backwards and going backwards doesn’t deal with our problems. I believe that, come Election Day, a majority of Americans will understand that, act on that and elect Hillary Clinton as president.”

    Senator George Mitchell has had a long and distinguished career. He served for several years as Chairman of DLA Piper, now Chairman Emeritus. Before that he served as a federal judge; as Majority Leader of the United States Senate; as Chairman of peace negotiations in Northern Ireland which resulted in an agreement that ended an historic conflict; and most recently as U.S. Special Envoy to the Middle East. In 2008 Time Magazine described him as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

    But what Mitchell said he was most proud of is his Mitchell Institute.

    The Mitchell Institute has given two scholarships for two highschool graduates or a $1,000 each from EVERY Maine high school since 1998. Thousands of young people have be encouraged and helped along their way to college, backed by the Mitchell Institute.

  • Congress should confirm Obama's choice for the Supreme Court - Sen. George Mitchell

    Editorital by Former U.S.Senator George Mitchell

    Sen. Mitchell photo by Ramona du Houx


    Controversy over U.S. Supreme Court nominees is nothing new. What we are seeing from Senate Republicans today, however, is what Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe correctly describes as an “unprecedented” and “shameful abdication of their constitutional duty to provide advice and consent on filling this Supreme Court vacancy.” Never in recent memory has the Senate majority attempted to object not only to a particular nominee but also to the president’s constitutional responsibility to fill a vacancy on the high court.

    During my time serving the people of Maine in the U.S. Senate, I had the privilege and responsibility of participating in the confirmation process for eight associate justice nominees. I voted to confirm six of these nominees, including four nominated by Republican presidents. In each case, the nominee received meetings with senators, a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee and an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor.

    When I was serving as Senate majority leader in 1991, leading a Democratic majority larger than the one held today by Republicans, President George H.W. Bush nominated Clarence Thomas to replace Thurgood Marshall. Within two months of receiving the nomination, the Senate Judiciary Committee began hearings. Despite the immense and lasting controversy that ensued, the nomination was reported out of the committee.

    There were 48 senators who were opposed to the nomination. We could have prevented Thomas from being confirmed by using a filibuster to prevent a vote on his nomination. I was urged to do so by many outside groups and several of my colleagues. I refused and decided Thomas should get a vote. He prevailed 52-to-48. We could have denied him a vote and a seat on the Supreme Court, but we insisted on doing the right thing.

    We hoped to reverse the dangerous downward spiral in the Senate’s handling of Supreme Court nominees, in which both parties had participated. Unfortunately, our hopes were not realized. The downward spiral has continued and has reached a new low in the reaction of most Republican senators to President Barack Obama’s nomination of Chief Judge Merrick Garland.

    A substantial majority of Americans reject the arguments Senate Republicans have put forward to justify their unprecedented blockade of the president’s unquestionably well-qualified and highly regarded nominee. They claim we have to ignore the urgent need to fill this vacancy until the people can decide. Well, the people have decided. Nearly 66 million Americans voted to re-elect Barack Obama in 2012. They believed they were getting a full vote, not three-fourths of a vote. And Obama got a full term, not three-fourths of a term.

    None of the Republican senators up for re-election this year who support this blockade have argued that they should recuse themselves from participation in other Senate business until the people can decide, nor should they. They should do their jobs by fulfilling their constitutional responsibility to consider and vote on the president’s nominee.

    I commend Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who has agreed to meet with Garland. Her Republican colleagues should join her and agree to hold hearings and an up-or-down vote on Garland.

    Just about everybody in this country, including the Republican members of the Senate, knows that the right thing to do is to hold a hearing and to permit a vote on the president’s nomination. I hope the senators will rise to the occasion, as other senators have done in the past.

    George J. Mitchell represented Maine in the U.S. Senate for 15 years, including six as majority leader. He later led Northern Ireland peace negotiations and chaired the International Fact Finding Committee on Violence in the Middle East. This OpEd first appeared in The Boston Globe.

  • Maine's Former Senator George Mitchell is Grand Marshall of St. Paddy's NYC parade

    Maine's George Mitchell, a former U.S. senator who helped negotiate the 1998 Northern Ireland peace accord, participated in the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade in New York City on March 17th,  as grand marshal after organizers opened the event up to all openly LGBT marchers.

    “Peace, openness, inclusion, let’s all work together for a better future for people, Irish-Americans, all Americans, all people,” said Mitchell, 82, before the start of the parade.

    A true statesman, Mitchell who oversaw negotiations that led to the 1998 Good Friday Peace Agreement in Northern Ireland, won the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Liberty Medal. He served in the Senate from 1980 until 1995 and was later U.S. special envoy for Northern Ireland and then for Middle East peace.