State Politics

Maine Governor Race 2022: A Deep Dive into the Candidates – Janet Mills

As the Maine Governor’s race edges closer to election day on Tuesday, November 8, 2022, it is important to stay informed on the state of the race, the candidates, and their policies. Both incumbent governor Janet Mills (D) and former governor Paul LePage (R) have been campaigning tirelessly throughout the past few months to assert themselves as Maine’s leader for the next 4 years. But with so many opinions and facts floating around, it can be difficult to get a grasp on who each candidate really is and what they are about. This article will provide a deep dive into the life, career, and policies of gubernatorial candidate Janet Mills.

Janet Mills (D)

Life and Career

Rebecca Hammel/U.S. House Office of Photography, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Incumbent candidate Janet Mills is a lifelong member of the Democratic Party. Born in Farmington, Maine, she grew up, was educated, and has worked in Maine for much of her life. She briefly attended Colby College before attending UMass Boston and earning her B.A. in French. She subsequently attended the University of Maine School of Law and earned her doctorate degree in law and was admitted to the Maine State Bar. Mills entered public service as the Assistant Attorney General of Maine, then was elected District Attorney of Oxford and Franklin, becoming the first woman to hold such a position in New England. Mills co-founded the Maine Women’s Lobby, which organizes to support women who are victims of domestic violence. She was elected to the Maine House of Representatives in 2002 off the back of her work in the Maine Women’s Lobby where she focused on criminal justice reform and legislation. Mills was then elected and served as the Maine Attorney General.

In 2018 Mills won the race for Maine Governor over businessman Shawn Moody (R) and was sworn in on January 2, 2019, becoming Maine’s first ever female governor. In this position, she has worked to provide Mainers with affordable healthcare for all, equal and equitable education, and economic recovery. Mills created the Maine Climate Council, where she has invested in clean and renewable energy sources and has taken steps to reduce pollution and carbon emissions. She also led Maine through the COVID-19 pandemic, boasting some of the highest vaccination rates and lowest death rates out of the entire country. Mills now hopes to continue her tenure as governor and carry on with what she has set out to accomplish in office.

Campaign Overview

The Mills campaign has been focused on further reforming and building upon much of the work she has already done as governor, like continuing to provide affordable healthcare to people across the state and providing equal access to education for all, which many SMCC students have already benefited from, with free tuition for recent high school graduates. Mills has promised to address and resolve the ongoing labor crisis in the healthcare system, and has pledged to provide easy access to healthcare to rural Maine. She is also a strong advocate for environmental conservation and preservation and promises to take further action in mitigating the effects of climate change, having recently signed into law that Maine will be a carbon neutral state by 2045. Mills spoke to this policy at the Maine Climate Council last year: 

“In Maine, our lands and waters are our way of life – where we earn our livelihoods, raise our families, and find fulfillment and peace. Indeed, we are inextricably tied to this place we love and call home. But the climate crisis – a code red for humanity – is disrupting our cherished way of life, threatening our economy, and endangering our future.”

Statement from Janet Mills, December 1, 2021, via https://www.maine.gov

Having made an appearance at the 2022 Portland Pride Parade, Mills has made it clear that she is a supporter for LGBTQ+ Mainers and their rights. Yet one of the largest issues Mills has recently campaigned on is reproductive rights. After the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court case that for almost 50 years protected people’s right to an abortion across the country, many states swiftly, some even automatically, outlawed abortion. Mills has made it clear that under her administration, abortion rights will remain protected in the state of Maine for all, having signed an executive order ensuring that Maine abortion clinics and providers would remain protected.

Current Standing

In 2018, Janet Mills was the first Maine governor candidate to win the majority of the vote for her first term since 1966. In 2022, as the incumbent, Mills has an advantage over LePage, and as the current race stands, Mills leads by a considerable margin, currently being favored over LePage in recent polls:

Latest Polls, Maine Governor Race, via FiveThirtyEight Polling

Despite her clear polling advantage, this race is not a sure win for her. Mills draws most of her support from Southern Maine, especially the Greater Portland Area. Where she has struggled to sway the votes of has been the more rural parts of Maine, particularly up north, which has been historically conservative. A lot of polling information comes from people in Southern Maine who have more access to the Internet and phones for polling, and as such there is often a chunk of data from rural Maine that is missing in many polls which are conducted via these methods. That being said, Mills is still favored by experts to win this upcoming election.

Summary

Janet Mills is favored to win the 2022 gubernatorial race in Maine. She is an experienced politician who has proven herself to people across the state of Maine. Her work to expand access to education and healthcare for all throughout her tenure as Maine governor since 2019 has made her the popular choice for many of the people of Maine, especially as she led the state through the COVID-19 pandemic. Time will reveal whether this has all paid off for Mills as election day draws in on November 8, 2022. To find when, where, and how to vote in this race, visit: www.vote.org/polling-place-locator.

Categories: State Politics

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