October 15 ,
Senator George Mitchell
Former US Senate Leader, Nobel Peace Prize Nominee and Head of the baseball steroid investigation
George J. Mitchell was appointed to the US Senate in 1980 to complete the unexpired term of Senator Edmund S. Muskie, who resigned to become Secretary of State. Senator Mitchell was elected to a full term in the Senate in 1982 in a stunning come-from-behind victory. After trailing in the public opinion polls by 36 points, he rallied to win the election, receiving 61 percent of the votes cast.
Senator Mitchell went on to an illustrious career in the Senate spanning 14 years. In 1988, he was reelected with 81 percent of the vote, the largest margin in the history of Maine. He left the Senate in 1995 as the Senate Majority Leader, a position he had held since January 1989. He enjoyed bipartisan respect during his tenure. It has been said, "there is not a man, woman or child in the Capitol who does not trust George Mitchell." For six consecutive years he was voted "the most respected member" of the Senate.
Recently, Senator Mitchell served as chairperson of the Peace Negotiations in Northern Ireland. Under his leadership an historic accord, ending decades of conflict, was agreed to by the governments of Ireland and the United Kingdom and the political parties of Northern Ireland. In May 1998, the agreement was overwhelmingly endorsed by the voters of Ireland, North and South, in a referendum. Senator Mitchell's leadership in Northern Ireland earned him worldwide praise. He has been nominated for the 1998 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts.
While in the Senate, Senator Mitchell served on the Finance, Veterans Affairs, and Environment and Public Works Committees. His work led to the enactment of nursing home standards in 1987 and the evaluation of medical care outcomes in 1989. In his work on the Finance Committee, he concentrated on the Medicare program, welfare reform, and tax fairness legislation. He was the impetus for the 1990 reauthorization of the Clean Air Act, including new controls on acid rain toxins, and led the Senate to pass the nation's first child care bill. He authored the first national oil spill prevention and clean up law and the low income housing tax credit program, and was a major force behind the passage in 1991 of a major transportation bill which provided a boost to the economy by creating millions of jobs, rebuilding the nation's deteriorating infrastructure, and assisting with mass transit needs.
He was instrumental in the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, landmark legislation extending civil rights protections to the disabled. His efforts also led to the passage of a higher education bill that expands opportunities for millions of Americans. In addition, he was a leader in opening markets to trade and led the Senate to ratification of the North American Free Trade Agreement and creation of the World Trade Organization.
In 1965 he returned to Maine where he engaged in the private practice of law in Portland until 1977. He was then appointed US Attorney for Maine, a position he held until 1979, when he was appointed US District Judge for Maine. He resigned that position in 1980 to accept appointment to the US Senate.
Senator Mitchell is also the author of several well-respected books. With his colleague, Senator Bill Cohen of Maine, he wrote Men of Zeal, describing the Iran-Contra investigation. In 1990, Senator Mitchell wrote his second book, World on Fire, describing the threat of the greenhouse effect and recommending steps to curb it. His third book, published in 1997, was Not For America Alone: The Triumph of Democracy and The Fall of Communism. In January of 2001 he published Making Peace, which chronicles the final moments in 1998 before Senator George Mitchell was informed that his long and difficult quest for an Irish peace effort had succeeded.
In 2004, Senator Mitchell was named chairman of the board of the Walt Disney Company.
In 2007, Mitchell released the Mitchell Report, an assessment of Major League Baseball and steroid abuse.
He is also a member of the Bipartisan Policy Center, where he works with former Senators Bob Dole, Tom Daschle, and Howard Baker to find new ways for Republicans and Democrats to work together and help the United States.