|United States Senator
January 3, 2013
Serving with Susan Collins
|Preceded by||Olympia Snowe|
|72nd Governor of Maine|
January 5, 1995 – January 8, 2003
|Preceded by||John McKernan|
|Succeeded by||John Baldacci|
|Born||Angus Stanley King, Jr.
March 31, 1944
Alexandria, Virginia, U.S.
|Political party||Democratic (Before 1993)
|Spouse(s)||Mary Herman (1984–present)|
|Education||Dartmouth College (BA)
University of Virginia (LLB)
Angus Stanley King, Jr. (born March 31, 1944) is an American politician and the junior United States Senator from the state of Maine. As a political independent, he served as the 72nd Governor of Maine from 1995 to 2003, winning his first election in a 4-way race with 35.37% of the vote.
King was born in Alexandria, Virginia, the son of Ellen Archer (née Ticer) and Angus Stanley King, Sr., a lawyer. He has 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. While a student at Dartmouth, King joined the Delta Upsilon social fraternity.
Soon after graduation from Virginia, King entered private law practice in Brunswick, Maine. He was a staff attorney for Pine Tree Legal Assistance in Skowhegan. In 1972, he served as chief counsel to U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Alcoholism and Narcotics. 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 1973, when he was 29, King was diagnosed with an aggressive form of malignant melanoma during a routine doctor's appointment—an appointment, King says, he never would have made had he not had health insurance at the time. As a result of the visit and the early detection, King was able to receive treatment, and the experience undergirds his support for the Affordable Care Act.
In 1975, King returned to Maine to practice with Smith, Loyd and King in Brunswick. In 1983, he was appointed vice president of Swift River/Hafslund 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.
In May 1993, King announced he would run for governor of Maine as an independent, as incumbent Governor John McKernan, a Republican, was term-limited and could not seek another term. King abandoned his lifelong affiliation with the Maine Democratic Party. "The Democratic Party as an institution has become too much the party that is looking for something from government," King explained to the Bangor Daily News a few weeks after he announced he would be running.
The Republican nominee was Susan Collins, Commissioner of Professional and Financial Regulation under Governor John McKernan and a protégée of U.S. Senator William Cohen, and at the time was relatively unknown to the electorate. The Democratic nominee was former Governor and U.S. Representative Joseph E. Brennan. It was Brennan's fifth campaign for governor.
The general election was a highly competitive four-way race between King, Collins, Brennan, and Green Party nominee Jonathan Carter. King decided to invest early in television advertising during Maine's unusually early June primary, allowing him to emerge from the primary season on an equal footing with his rivals. King positioned himself as a businessman and a pragmatic environmentalist focused on job creation and education. The Washington Times described him as an idealist who "wants to slash regulations but preserve the environment; hold the line on taxes; impose work and education requirements on welfare recipients; experiment with public school choice and cut at least $60 million from the state budget." His opponents criticized him for flip-flopping. Collins argued King "presents different images, depending on who he is talking to. Angus has been a Democrat his whole life. In my opinion, he became an independent because he didn't think he could beat Joe Brennan in a primary. He's extremely smooth, articulate and bright, but he says different things to different groups."
King narrowly won the November 8 election with 35% of the vote to Brennan's 34%, a margin of just 7,878 votes. (Collins received 23% of the vote and Carter 6%.) King won eight counties, Collins five and Brennan three. 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 won reelection to a second term in 1998 with 59% of the vote. He defeated Republican Jim Longley Jr. (the son of the former governor) (19%) and Democrat Thomas Connolly (12%). King's 59% was the highest a candidate had received since Brennan's 1982 reelection with 62% of the vote. Brennan's 1982 victory was also the last time before 1998 that a gubernatorial candidate had won a majority of the vote, and King's 1998 reelection remains the last time in a Maine gubernatorial election that the winner got a majority.
During his tenure, King was the only governor in the United States unaffiliated with any political party. He was also one of only two governors nationwide not affiliated with either of the two major parties, the other being Jesse Ventura of Minnesota, who was elected in 1998 as a member of the Reform Party. The term of Connecticut's independent governor Lowell Weicker ended when King's began. In his book Independent Nation (2004), political analyst John Avlon describes all three governors as radical centrist thinkers.
While in office King launched the Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI) to provide laptops for every public middle-school student in the state, the first initiative of its kind in the nation. It met with considerable resistance due to its cost 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 Inc. 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", King said 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 Maine's fishing industry and the new laptop initiative.
One of King's more controversial initiatives 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, which considered it a breach of civil liberties. The law's supporters claimed the fingerprinting requirement would stop previous offenders from coming to Maine to work in the schools and that 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 child abusers. The law's critics 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 not supported by Supreme Court rulings on the issue). Fifty-seven teachers from across the state resigned in protest of the bill. The Maine Legislature voted to exempt current school employees, but King vetoed that 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 it.
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 33 states before returning home in June 2003.
From 2004, King was a lecturer at Bowdoin College teaching a course called "Leaders and Leadership"; in the fall of 2009 and 2010, he taught a similar course at Bates College. He joined one of Maine's premier law firms, Bernstein Shur, and a mergers and acquisitions advisory firm (Leaders LLC) in Portland, Maine. He also worked 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 entering the 2012 U.S. Senate election. Of the project, King has said, "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..." He also helped launch the Vital Signs education website at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute in 2009. Vital Signs builds upon the 1-to-1 laptop network King established as governor.
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.
King's Senate campaign came under scrutiny for posting a heavily edited newspaper profile of him to the campaign website.
On November 6, 2012, King won the Senate race with 53% of the vote, beating 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 had a clear majority, but that he would have been largely excluded from the committee process had he not caucused with a party. King said he had not ruled out caucusing with the Republicans if they took control of the Senate in 2014, but when that happened, he remained in the Democratic caucus.
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 the Constitution contains no 60-vote requirement to conduct business in the Senate. Accordingly, in 2013 King voted in favor of the so-called nuclear option to eliminate the filibuster for most presidential nominees.
King opposes attempts by the U.S. House to cut $40 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program over ten years, fearing that it "would affect people in a serious way" and drive more people to soup kitchens and food banks. He supports the more modest Senate efforts to save $4 billion over the same period by closing loopholes.
King had stated that he would not have been willing to attend the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, due to threats against the Games. He further stated that he would not have wanted his family to attend either.
In 2014 King was chosen for the annual honor of reading George Washington's Farewell Address to the Senate.
King endorsed his colleague Susan Collins for reelection in the 2014 U.S. Senate election, calling her a "model Senator". At the same time, he endorsed Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire for reelection. King also endorsed Eliot Cutler for Governor in the 2014 election, as he had done in 2010, although on October 29, 2014, he switched his endorsement to Democratic nominee Mike Michaud. He also endorsed Democrat Emily Cain for the Maine's second congressional district election and Republican Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee in his reelection campaign.
After Republicans gained the Senate majority in the November 4, 2014 election, King announced that he would continue to caucus with the Democrats. He cited his belief that it is good for a state to have a senator from each party, and that it is important to have a senator who caucuses with the same party as the President, saying, "In the end, who I caucus with is less important than who I work with." He further said, "It does not mean I have become a Democrat. It does not mean I have made a promise to anybody."
On June 22, 2015, King announced that he would undergo prostate cancer surgery on June 26, adding, "I'm looking forward to a full recovery and to continuing my service in the Senate". King had shown no symptoms but doctors had found the cancer in a routine medical exam, and after a biopsy was given, the diagnosis was confirmed. King also announced that this did not change his plans to run for reelection in 2018.
Angus King has described himself as "neither a Democrat nor a Republican, but an 'American.'" His Crowdpac score is -4.3 (10 is the most conservative, -10 the most liberal), based on a data aggregation of his campaign contributions, votes, and speeches. King votes with the majority of Democrats about 90% of the time. He has also received higher approval ratings from liberal interest groups than conservative ones. King has been rated 89% by the average liberal interest group; the average conservative interest group rates him 14.5%.
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 in Maine. New Balance is the only remaining domestic manufacturer of athletic footwear. Also while governor, King vetoed a bill that would have raised Maine's minimum wage by 25 cents per hour.
King is opposed to the Keystone XL pipeline, stating that the "project will facilitate the transport of some of the world's dirtiest and most climate-harming oil through our country" and has cast several votes against legislation authorizing its construction. King has said that he is "frustrated" with President Obama's delay in deciding whether to authorize construction, but that he opposes Congress legislating the approval or disapproval of a construction project.
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."
King has expressed opposition to the creation of a Maine Woods National Park, believing that local control is the best way to conserve land, but in 2014 stated he was keeping an open mind about the idea. He has "serious reservations" about the designation of land in the Katahdin region as a National Monument.
King opposes efforts in Maine to ban the baiting and trapping of bears, including an effort to put the question to voters in 2014, calling such practices necessary to prevent interaction between bears and people, and stating the practices are based on science and the views of experts.
King supports the Department of Veterans Affairs goal to eliminate both its claim backlog and veteran homelessness.
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 expanding background checks to most firearms transactions, with exceptions for transfers between family members, calling such a position "the single most effective step" that can be taken to keep guns out of the wrong hands. He supports limiting the size of magazines to 10 rounds, and to make purchasing a gun for someone not legally allowed to have one a federal crime. He does not support a ban on assault weapons, believing it will not work and that such a ban is not based on the functionality of the weapons, which are not relevantly different from the many hunting rifles owned by Maine residents. He further states that the vast majority of crimes are committed with handguns, not assault weapons.
King voted for the Manchin-Toomey amendment to expand background checks for gun purchases.
On September 27, 2013, King voted to restore funding for the Affordable Care Act as part of an amendment to legislation funding government operations for 45 days, which also omitted House-passed language prioritizing debt payments if Congress failed to increase the nation’s borrowing limits. He has said that those opposed to the ACA who are attempting to discourage people from purchasing health insurance are "guilty of murder" and that doing so was "one of the grossest violations of our humanity that I could think of." In making this comment, King noted a time in his life when he would have died had he not just acquired health insurance.
King supports same-sex marriage, stating that it is "necessary to provide couples and their families with equal protection under the law." King also signed an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in United States v. Windsor encouraging it to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act.
The National Retail Federation gave King the 2014 "Hero of Main Street" award for his support of American retailers.
|Maine gubernatorial election, 1994|
|Maine gubernatorial election, 1998|
|Independent||Angus King (inc.)||246,772||59%|
|Republican||James Longley, Jr.||79,716||19%|
|Constitution||William Clarke, Jr.||15,293||4%|
|U.S. Senate election in Maine, 2012|
|Republican||Charles Summers, Jr.||215,399||30%|
|Democratic||Cynthia Ann Dill||92,900||13%|
|Independent||Danny Francis Dalton||5,807||1%|
|Independent||Andrew Ian Dodge||5,624||1%|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Angus King.|
|Governor of Maine
|United States Senate|
|U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Maine
Served alongside: Susan Collins
|United States order of precedence (ceremonial)|
|United States Senators by seniority
|Maine's delegation(s) to the 113th–115th United States Congresses (ordered by seniority)|
|113th||Senate: S. Collins | A. King||House: M. Michaud | C. Pinigree|
|114th||Senate: S. Collins • A. King||House: C. Pinigree • B. Poliquin|
|115th||Senate: S. Collins • A. King||House: C. Pinigree • B. Poliquin|