Senator George J. Mitchell Honored At Maine State House

Posted Tuesday, February 4, 2014 in News

Senator George J. Mitchell Honored At Maine State House

by Andi Parkinson

It is now being reported that Senator Mitchell has been asked to serve as negotiator for the victims of last year’s Lac-Megantic, Quebec train disaster, as the company owning the train involved, Montreal, Maine & Atlantic, goes through bankruptcy.

Maine’s Senator George J. Mitchell was honored last week at the State House and invited to speak before a joint convention of the full 126th Legislature, former leaders and invited guests. Among the dignitaries and Maine notables present were former Governor Joseph Brennan, Maine Supreme Court Justice the Hon. Leigh I. Saufley, Attorney General Janet T. Mills, Auditor Pola Buckley, former Maine Senate President Libby Mitchell, Speakers of the House John Martin and John Richardson, and many others. Others who were unable to attend included Governor Paul LePage (due to a family medical issue), former Governor John Baldacci and Maine’s Congressional members, who sent well wishes which were read aloud to those assembled.


Rep. Mike Michaud:

Rep. Chellie Pingree (via Facebook):

Link here to some of the day’s photos.

Senator Mitchell’s address was heartfelt, humorous, insightful and mindful of the changing political environment facing politicians. He discussed the decades of his career in public service and cautioned the 126th Legislature that much of his accomplishments as both Senate Majority Leader in Congress and in helping negotiate peace in Northern Ireland came not from his ability to talk- but rather his ability to listen, to all who wished to be heard:

 

He also discussed with pride the work of the Mitchell Institute and the scholarships his foundation has provided to thousands of Maine students over the past twenty years. He drew applause when he praised Maine’s students:

Link to the text of his prepared remarks: View this document on Scribd

He concluded his remarks by asking lawmakers to do the best they could for the people of Maine based on their conscience and best judgment.

After his address, a commissioned portrait of Mitchell painted by artist James Hanley of Dublin, Ireland was unveiled in the Hall of Flags, where the picture now hangs. This is an honor previously given to a very select few Maine politicians, as only five others have preceded him: William King, James G. Blaine, Thomas Brackett Reed, Sen. Margaret Chase Smith and Sen. Edmund Muskie.

Video of the unveiling of Senator Mitchell’s portrait in the Hall of Flags:

 

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