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Photo: mainewomenmagazine.com

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 Maine 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 Republican 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 of Maine 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.

Early life and education Janet Mills

Mills was born in Farmington, Maine, the daughter of Katherine Louise (Coffin) and Sumner Peter Mills Jr. Her mother was a schoolteacher, and her father was a lawyer who served as U.S. Attorney for Maine in the 1950s. 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.

Mills briefly attended Colby College before moving to San Francisco, where she worked as a nursing assistant in a psychiatric hospital. She later enrolled at the University of Massachusetts Boston, from which she graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in 1970. During her time at UMass, Mills traveled through Western Europe and became fluent in French. In 1973 she began attending the University of Maine School of Law 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. Mills graduated with a JD in 1976 and was admitted to the bar.

Personal life Janet Mills

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Photo: mainepublic.org

In 1985, she met and married the love of her life, her husband, Stan Kuklinski, a widower with five young daughters ages four to sixteen. Janet and Stan moved back to Farmington, and she became a full-time mom to five daughters who she helped raise while working full-time herself. She is now the proud grandmother to three grandsons and two granddaughters.

Career Janet Mills

Early political career

Janet first entered public service as an assistant attorney general, where she prosecuted homicides and other major crimes. After a few years, she was elected District Attorney for Androscoggin, Franklin, and Oxford Counties, making her the first woman to be elected as a DA in New England. Committed to helping victims of domestic violence, Janet co-founded the Maine Women’s Lobby to advocate for battered and abused women and won election to the Maine House of Representatives in 2002.

Prior to becoming governor, Janet served as the Attorney General of Maine – the first and only woman to hold the job. Janet is also the first woman to serve as governor of Maine. In her historic victory, she earned more votes than any governor in state history and is the first governor since 1966 to win a majority of the vote for her first term.


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Photo: bangordailynews.com

On July 10, 2017, Mills announced that she would seek the Democratic nomination for governor of Maine in 2018. 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%.

In the general election, Mills faced Republican businessman Shawn Moody, independent Maine State Treasurer Terry Hayes, an 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 won the election with 50.9% 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.

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. She was the first sitting Maine governor to address the General Assembly.

Janet Mills has always been a fighter—a fighter for Maine people and a fighter for a better future. Mills supports LGBT rights. In May 2019, she signed a bill banning conversion therapy, the pseudoscientific practice aimed at changing one's sexual orientation or gender identity, from being used on minors. Besides, Mills has enacted regulations to curb the use of materials that harm the environment. One such policy includes prohibiting the use of plastic bags by Maine retailers set to go into effect on 22 April 2020. She also signed into law a ban on the use of styrofoam containers by various industries within the state. This regulation will become effective on 1 January 2021.

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