NORTH HAVEN, Maine — Maine Speaker of the House Hannah Pingree has been named one of Time magazine’s “40 under 40” rising stars of American politics.
Pingree, 33, who was featured on a list of “Women on Top” in the October issue of Marie Claire magazine, said Friday that she was honored to be included in a roll call of young politicians that included Florida U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.
“It’s a great group of powerful, impressive people that I’m obviously proud to be a part of,” Pingree said.
In Time magazine, Pingree said that her political “hero/inspirations” are her mother, U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, and former U.S. Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, whom she worked for in high school.
“He’s one of the most thoughtful, statesmanlike politicians I’ve ever encountered,” she said.
Pingree also said that she thinks that poverty is the most overlooked issue facing America now, that she loves politics — even though politicians are often unpopular — and that she feels she has made a difference.
“I’ve been able to pass a lot of bills or make an impact on the people I grew up with: fishermen in my district, people who need good housing, environmental policy that impacts kids’ health,” she said in Time magazine. “If I hadn’t been able to do that in politics, I would have given up a long time ago.”
When asked where she saw herself professionally in five years, Pingree, who is married to filmmaker Jason Mann, said that she wants to have a successful career in politics and a family.
With her first child due in March and term limits ending her stint in the House of Representatives in December, she will be switching gears soon.
“It’ll be a whole new life project,” Pingree said Friday. “I certainly look forward to taking a break, but I also look forward to coming back in the future.”
She said that she planned to spend the next few years involved politically “in some way” — she was elected to the North Haven School Board in March — but also was unsure of what the future might bring her.
“I don’t know what I will do next — whether it’s run for state Legislature again, or run for a higher office, or be very happy having kids and another job for the next 20 years,” she said.
Pingree said that her proudest accomplishments in her time in the Maine House include being selected as speaker of the House in 2008, being part of a session that did “a lot of good bipartisan work” and helping to pass the Kid-Safe Products Act, which aims to reduce children’s exposure to toxic chemicals.
“I feel that just being part of the Legislature, every day you had a different challenge,” she said. “I think that’s the reason anybody would want to be in public office.”