Former Sen. George J. Mitchell to address joint session of Maine Legislature

Posted Jan. 22, 2014, at 4:42 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 22, 2014, at 6:04 p.m.
Former Senator George Mitchell
Former Senator George Mitchell

AUGUSTA, Maine — Former U.S. Sen. George J. Mitchell, perhaps one of the most accomplished politicians to move from Maine to the national and international scenes, will visit the State House on Tuesday to deliver a speech to a joint session of the House and Senate.

Mitchell, a Democrat, will venture to Augusta for a ceremony to unveil a portrait of himself that will be displayed in the State House’s Hall of Flags. Other attendees will include former Maine Gov. Joseph Brennan and Leigh Saufley, chief justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.

Izzy Forman, a spokeswoman for the Mitchell Institute, couldn’t provide many details about the topic of Mitchell’s speech, which is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. She said it would likely include a statewide scholarship program that Mitchell has often said is his greatest accomplishment. The Mitchell Institute provides annual scholarships to a student from every public high school in Maine. Since 1995, the program has distributed nearly $8 million in scholarships to some 1,800 Maine students.

Mitchell, who was born in Waterville, started his career in the legal field, serving as a U.S. attorney for Maine before becoming a U.S. District Court judge for Maine, according to biographical information on the Mitchell Institute’s website.

Brennan appointed him to the U.S. Senate in 1980 to complete an unexpired term for Sen. Edmund Muskie, who resigned to become U.S. secretary of state. Mitchell served in the Senate for 15 years, including six years at the Senate majority leader.

From there, Mitchell strung together a list of lofty accomplishments, including leading high-profile Northern Ireland peace negotiations between Ireland and the United Kingdom and chairing the International Fact Finding Committee on Violence in the Middle East, which produced the widely known Mitchell Report. Mitchell also led the production of a benchmark report on the use of performance-enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball.

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