About Angus King, Governor, U.S. Senator
Angus Stanley King, Jr. (born March 31, 1944) is an American politician and the junior United States Senator from the state of Maine. A political independent, he served as the 72nd Governor of Maine from 1995 to 2003.
King won Maine's 2012 Senate election to replace the retiring Republican Olympia Snowe and took office on January 3, 2013. For committee assignment purposes, he caucuses with the Democratic Party.
Early life, education, and private sector career
King was born in Alexandria, Virginia, the son of Ellen Archer (née Ticer) and Angus Stanley King, Sr., a lawyer. He spent most of his adult years in the state of Maine. He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1966 and the University of Virginia School of Law in 1969. King entered private law practice in Brunswick, Maine.
In the 1980s, King served as vice president of a company which developed alternative energy (hydro and biomass) projects in New England. In 1989 King founded Northeast Energy Management, Inc. The company developed, installed, and operated large-scale electrical energy conservation projects at commercial and industrial facilities throughout south-central Maine.
Before being elected Governor, King served as a legislative assistant to Democratic U.S. Senator William Hathaway in the 1970s. He was also well-known statewide as a television host on public television in Maine.
Governor of Maine
King was first elected in 1994, defeating both Democratic former Governor Joseph E. Brennan and Republican Susan Collins.
The key to the King strategy was a large investment in television advertising during Maine's unusually early June primary, allowing him to emerge from the primary season on an equal footing with his partisan rivals. Collins, a protégé of U.S. Senator and future Secretary of Defense William Cohen, was relatively unknown in Maine, but benefited from a chaotic eight-candidate Republican primary by winning with fewer than a quarter of the votes. Brennan was in his fifth campaign for governor - two successful - and beat back three challengers in the Democratic primary.
King's election as an independent was not unprecedented in Maine politics, as independent James B. Longley had been elected twenty years earlier. Governor King's bipartisan ways proved extremely popular: he was re-elected in 1998 with 59 percent of the vote to 19 percent for Republican Jim Longley Jr. (the son of the former governor) and 12 percent for Democrat Thomas Connolly. King was so popular, his 59% share of the vote was highest since Democrat Joseph E. Brennan was reelected in 1982 with 62 percent of the vote. Brennan's reelection in 1982 was the last time before 1998 that a gubernatorial candidate was able to get an overall majority of the vote, and King's reelection in 1998 was the last time in a Maine gubernatorial election that the winner got a majority of the vote.
During his tenure, he was one of only two governors nationwide not affiliated with either of the two major parties, the other being Jesse Ventura of Minnesota. The term of Connecticut's independent governor Lowell Weicker ended when King's began.
While in office, Governor King launched the Maine Learning Technology Initiative, or MLTI, to provide laptops for every public middle-school student in the state of Maine, a first of its kind in the nation. It met with considerable resistance due to costs, but was enacted by the Maine Legislature. On September 5, 2002, the state began the program with a four-year, $37.2-million contract with Apple Computer to equip all seventh- and eighth-grade students and teachers in the state with laptops. "I think we're going to demonstrate the power of one-to-one computer access that's going to transform education," said Governor Angus King in a Wired magazine interview. "The economic future will belong to the technologically adept." While ushering in the program, King quipped "We've still got fish but we're heavily into the chips," in reference to the State of Maine's fishing industry and the new laptop initiative.
One of the more controversial initiatives of Governor King was a law requiring all school employees – including volunteers and contractors working in schools – to be fingerprinted by the Maine State Police, and to have background checks conducted on them. The program purported to protect children from abuse by potential predators working within the schools, but met with strong resistance from teachers' unions, who considered it a breach of civil liberties. Supporters of the law claimed the fingerprinting requirement would stop previous offenders from coming to Maine to work in the schools, and if Maine did not have this requirement, it would send a message to previous offenders that they could work in Maine without fear of being identified as a child abuser. Critics of the law maintained that there was no evidence of a problem with child abuse by school employees, and the fingerprinting represented a violation of constitutional guarantees (a claim which was not backed up by Supreme Court rulings on the issue). 57 teachers from across the state resigned in protest of the fingerprinting bill. The Maine Legislature voted to exempt current school employees, but this was vetoed by Gov. King in April 1997. The cost of the requirement was initially to be paid for by the school employees themselves, but the Legislature voted to have the state fund the costs of the measure.
While governor, King vetoed a bill which would have raised Maine's minimum wage by 25 cents per hour.
Post-gubernatorial career (2003–12)
The day after he left office in 2003, King, his wife, Mary Herman, and their two children – Ben, 14, and Molly, 10 – embarked on a road trip in a 40-foot motor home to see America. Over the next six months, the family traveled 15,000 miles and visited 34 states before returning home in June 2003.
Since 2004, King has been a lecturer at Bowdoin College teaching a course called "Leaders and Leadership"; in the fall of 2009, he taught a similar course at Bates College. He also became employed at one of Maine's premier law firms, Bernstein Shur, and a mergers and acquisitions advisory firm (Leaders LLC) in Portland, Maine. He currently works on issues of sustainable and renewable energy. In spring 2009 he endorsed the Maine Green Energy Project, a summer program for young people to learn to build and advocate for green energy in Maine.
King was also involved in a wind power utility company, Independence Wind, co-founded with Robert Gardiner. In August 2009, Independence Wind along with joint venture partner Wagner Forest Management won Maine DEP approval for construction of a proposed $120-million, 22-turbine, utility-scale wind power project along a prominent mountain ridge in Roxbury, Maine. To avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest, King sold his part of the company after he entered the 2012 U.S. Senate election. Of the project King has said in part: ""However, the people who say wind is only an intermittent resource are looking for a one-shot solution. And my experience is that there are rarely silver bullets, but there is often silver buckshot. Wind is an adjunct source of energy. Ten percent, 20% can be very significant..." King is also interested in solar energy and in spring 2009 he endorsed the Maine Green Energy Project, a summer program for young people to learn to build and advocate for green energy in Maine.
2012 U.S. Senate election
On March 5, 2012, King announced that he was running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Olympia Snowe. King said "hogwash" to allegations by some Republicans that he had cut a deal with Democrats to keep U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree out of the race.
On November 6, 2012, King won the Senate race with 53% of the vote against Democrat Cynthia Dill and Republican Charlie Summers. The following week, King announced that he would caucus with Senate Democrats, explaining not only that it made more sense to affiliate with the party that has a clear majority, but that he would have been largely excluded from the committee process had he not caucused with a party. King has not ruled out caucusing with the Republicans if they take control of the Senate in 2014.
King has called for the continuation of a tariff on imported athletic footwear and rejects discussing the potential removal of the tariff in trade talks with Vietnam, citing the potential loss of jobs at New Balance's Skowhegan and Madison factories, as New Balance is the only remaining domestic manufacturer of athletic footwear.
King opposes oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, believing the amount of oil is not worth the environmental risk of extracting it. He also believes that new developments in the energy field, such as fracking and the Keystone XL pipeline should be subject to "all appropriate environmental safeguards to protect the American people and the American land."
He opposes the creation of a Maine Woods National Park, believing local control is the best way to conserve land.
King proposes supporting teacher development, by attempting to elevate the teaching profession to something attractive for top students. With over 29% of teachers claiming they are likely to leave the profession, King proposes steps such as creating a recruitment program, supporting research and development, and improving access to technology. He additionally proposes increasing parent involvement in the classroom, supporting measures like gas cards for parents.
King supports the principle of the No Budget, No Pay Act, to prevent members of Congress from being paid until a budget is passed, but would seek a requirement that any passed budget "works" and is not simply a bad budget passed to meet the requirement.
King supports reform of the Senate filibuster, noting that Senators are no longer required to stand on the floor and speak during a filibuster. He also points out that a 60-vote requirement to conduct business in the Senate was not included in the Constitution by the Framers.
King supports the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. He is also pro-choice on abortion.
King supports same-sex marriage, stating that it is "necessary to provide couples and their families with equal protection under the law."