Muskie School of Public Service

Politics Then and Now: Former State Senator Elizabeth (Libby) Mitchell

October 10, 2013
4:00 PM to 5:30 PM
Lee Community Hall (Rm 133), Wishcamper Center, USM Portland Campus
 Libby Mitchell

Elizabeth (Libby) Mitchell
Former Maine Senate President and
House Speaker

Lecture given as part of the Fall 2013 Speaker Series
"Politics Then and Now, In Maine and the Nation."

Event is free and open to the public.

Having been elected many times to both the Maine House of Representatives and Maine Senate, Libby Mitchell is the first woman in U.S. history to have held both a House Speakership and Senate Presidency. While in state legislature, Mitchell was a tireless advocate for job creation, access to health care, and energy sustainability. As a former teacher, she championed laws to improve Maine’s public education system and sponsored first-in-the-nation legislation to use state funding to expand the federal Head Start program. Among many commitments as a life-long public servant, Mitchell has served as Director of the Maine Housing Authority, on the New England Board of Higher Education, and as chair of Federal Home Loan Bank Board.

Full list of speakers for "Politics Then and Now"

About the series:

We’ve come a long way since President John F. Kennedy characterized politics as “a noble calling,” to today, when the nation’s political system is routinely described as “dysfunctional” and the political atmosphere in Washington and Augusta as “poisonous.”

Competition and cooperation co-exist in all healthy systems, side by side and sometimes cheek-by-jowel, to advance the system’s purposes. Whether it is a forest ecosystem, the human body, a large bureaucracy, or an economic system, its elements compete for resources to meet their own needs, even as they act to contribute to the survival and persistence of the system itself.  Somewhere along the way from the 1960s, the U.S. political system lost sight of this important principle, threatening its public credibility, trust, and purposes.

Each speaker in the series will address these timely and important questions:

  • How was politics “played” in earlier times in Maine and the nation?  And, how has that changed today?
  • How did this come about? What are the implications for the state and the nation of our continuing along this path? And, what will it take to change course?
  • What does Maine have to offer the nation in this regard, based on our experience here?

Brought to you by the Muskie School of Public Service and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Southern Maine

Sponsored by:      




Cutler Family Fund



         Peter Mills           


Contact Information

Susan Morrow
(207) 228-8181