George Mitchell's Headshot

George Mitchell

- Panelist Blurb

It has been said of him that "there is not a man, woman or child in the Capitol who does not trust George Mitchell" and for six consecutive years he was praised as "the most respected member" of the Senate. In his career as Senate Majority Leader Mitchell has gained the unqualified respect of the American people and has addressed some of the nation's most pressing domestic concerns, including welfare reform, quality medical care and fair tax legislation.

Now a leader in global politics, he recently served as Chairman of the International Commission on Disarmament in Northern Ireland. Under his guidance, a popularly supported accord, ending decades of conflict, was agreed to by the governments of Ireland and the United Kingdom. Senator Mitchell's negotiations earned him worldwide praise and a nomination for the 1998 Nobel Peace Prize. Bringing his knowledge to the lecture podium, Mitchell discusses America's role in the global political scene. An expert on the evolving European Community and the economics of that region, he examines current trends and the impact they will have on the future of international business. In addition, he draws from his highly successful peace mediation in Northern Ireland to discuss the art of negotiation.

George Mitchell began his political career over 20 years ago when he was appointed U.S. Attorney for Maine. In 1980 Mitchell was appointed to the Senate to complete the unexpired term of Senator Edmund Muskie. He was elected to a full term in the Senate in 1982, in a stunning come-from-behind victory. In 1988, he was re-elected with 81 percent of the vote, the largest margin in Maine history. He became the Majority Leader in the Senate in 1989 and retired from Congress in 1995.

While in the Senate, Mitchell served on the Finance, Veterans Affairs, and Environment and Public works Committees. He led the fight to enact nursing home standards and evaluation of medical care outcomes. He led the successful reauthorization of the Clean Air Act, including new controls on acid rain toxins. He was the author of the first national oil spill prevention and clean up law. He was a major force behind the passage of the 1991 transportation bill which provided an important boost to the economy by creating jobs, rebuilding deteriorating infrastructure and assisting with mass transit needs. He also led the Senate to the passage of the nation's first child care bill and was principal author of the low income housing tax credit program. 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.

Mitchell is the author of three books. With Senator Bill Cohen, he wrote Men of Zeal about the Iran-Contra investigation. His second book, World on Fire, took an absorbing look at the threat posed by the greenhouse effect. His latest book, published in 1997, was Not For America Alone: The Triumph of Democracy and The Fall of Communism.

Mitchell serves as a director of the Walt Disney Company, Federal Express, Xerox, and UNUM Insurance. He also serves as Chairman of the Ethics Committee of the U.S. Olympic Committee and as Chairman of the National Health Care Commission created by the Pew Charitable Foundation.

George Mitchell received his undergraduate degree from Bowdoin College and his LLB degree from Georgetown University Law Center.

NOTE: This bio appeared in the December 4, 1999 program for our "Global Issues...Global Views" Forum.