Democrat Janet Mills will be sworn in today as Maine’s 75th governor. The 71-year-old from a prominent Farmington family becomes Maine’s first female governor. Watch the swearing-in and her inaugural speech here.
Thank you for being with us this evening. Click here to read a draft of Janet Mills’ inaugural address. We will have more analysis of the speech on Thursday. Welcome home and good night.
Of the more than a dozen attendees I spoke with before the ceremony started, Gov.-elect Mills’ inauguration is the first inauguration most have attended. One woman caught a ride by herself from Cushing to witness history, she said. Others invited friends and family to come with them. As Carol Locke of Portland said, “I’ve been waiting for this for a long time.”
Maulian Dana, the tribal ambassador for the Penobscot Nation, is one of those introducing Mills tonight. Tribes have long had a difficult relationship with the state and the Penobscot Nation joined progressive groups in a letter critical of Mills during her primary campaign. However, Mills recently backed the tribe in its campaign to retire Skowhegan’s “Indian” mascot.
Offering a prayer before Mills’ inauguration is the Rev. Kenneth T. Lewis, the pastor of Green Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church in Portland, which traces its roots to the Abyssinian Society, a congregation that began in 1828 after 22 black residents successfully petitioned the Legislature to let them start their own church because of discrimination at other churches.
Mills spokesman Scott Ogden said more than 3,000 people are at tonight’s inaugural ceremony, which is about the same size of the crowd that Gov. Paul LePage drew at his second inaugural in 2015.
We just received this message via email about the widow of a former BDN employee:
Jo McAlary is thrilled to be able to attend the inauguration of the first female governor Janet Mills. McAlary is 95 years old and a Maine resident since 1936
The pomp and circumstance in the inaugural ceremony started on Wednesday afternoon, when both chambers of the Legislature convened to go through a series of actions that effectively serve as an official alert to Mills that she is being sworn in, although she probably knows that already.
Sen. Cathy Breen, D-Falmouth, just arrived back in the auditorium at the Augusta Civic Center to complete that duty and inform the crowd that Mills “will attend forthwith.” The crowd laughed.
The only former governors in attendance are Democrats John Baldacci, Joseph Brennan and Kenneth Curtis.
We recently looked at Paul LePage’s first inaugural address. Click here to see how he did in achieving the goals he laid out in 2011.
The last inauguration of a Maine governor occurred on Jan. 7, 2015, when Republican Gov. Paul LePage took the oath for his second term. Click here to read about what he said.
After four years of Republican majorities in the Maine Senate, Democrats won control of the upper chamber in November. For that reason, Sen. Troy Jackson of Allagash, a Democrat, will have the honor of leading the ceremony as Senate president.
Democrat Janet Mills will be sworn in today as Maine’s 75th governor. The 71-year-old from a prominent Skowhegan area family becomes Maine’s first woman governor. Watch the swearing-in and her inaugural speech here.
.@JanetMillsforME, always thinking of others. Her inauguration is minutes away and she is at her desk in the Blaine House writing thank you notes to the staff of her transition team. What an honor to be a part of this. #mepolitics pic.twitter.com/WHJrnVG7h5
— Scott Ogden (@swogden10) January 2, 2019
Former Gov. John Baldacci, the last Democrat to serve as governor, is scheduled to attend the swearing-in ceremony. Departing Gov. Paul LePage, a Republican, does not plan to attend.
Doors opened at 4:30 p.m. and people are arriving for the inauguration. Music will continue until shortly before 6 p.m., when members of the Legislature will begin a procession. After lawmakers, Maine Supreme Judicial Court justices, Cabinet nominees and other distinguished guests take their places, the oath of office will be administered at roughly 7 p.m. After she is sworn in, Gov. Janet Mills will give her inaugural address.