About Senator George J. Mitchell
Senator George J. Mitchell entered the U.S. Senate in 1980 when he was appointed to complete the unexpired term of Senator Edmund S. Muskie, who had resigned to become United States Secretary of State. In 1982, he was elected to the Senate seat to which he had been appointed, and he went on to an illustrious career in the Senate that spanned 16 years. In January 1989, Senator Mitchell became Senate majority leader. He held that position until he left the Senate in 1995. During his tenure, Senator Mitchell earned significant bipartisan respect.
In 1996, the governments of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland asked Senator Mitchell to chair the peace negotiations in Northern Ireland. Senator Mitchell led the negotiations for two years, work that ultimately resulted in an accord that ended decades of conflict. In May 1998, the agreement was overwhelmingly endorsed by voters in Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. He has received numerous awards and honors recognizing his service in the peace talks, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Philadelphia Liberty Medal, the Truman Institute Peace Prize, the German (Hesse) Peace Prize, and the United Nations (UNESCO) Peace Prize.
Senator Mitchell was stationed in Berlin, Germany, as an officer in the U.S. Army Counter- Intelligence Corps from 1954 to 1956. From 1960 to 1962, he was a trial lawyer in the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. From 1962 to 1965, he served as executive assistant to Senator Muskie. In 1965, he returned to Maine where he engaged in the private practice of law in Portland until 1977. He was then appointed U.S. Attorney for the District of Maine, a position he held until 1979, when he was appointed U.S. District Judge for the same district. He resigned that position in 1980 to accept his Senate appointment.
After leaving the Senate, Senator Mitchell joined the law firm Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson and Hand, joining DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary US in 2003 along with many other members of that firm. He serves as chairman of the board of The Walt Disney Company and serves on the board of Staples, Inc. He is also chancellor of The Queen’s University of Northern Ireland. He served as chairman of the International Crisis Group, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the prevention of crises in international affairs, as chairman of the Special Commission investigating allegations of impropriety in the bidding process for the Olympic Games, and as chairman of the National Health Care Commission. Working on a pro bono basis, Senator Mitchell was the independent overseer of the American Red Cross Liberty Disaster Relief Fund, an organization formed to help victims of the 9/11 attacks.
At the request of President Bill Clinton and Israeli and Palestinian leaders, Senator Mitchell served as chairman of an international fact-finding committee on violence in the Middle East. The committee’s recommendation, widely known as The Mitchell Report, was endorsed by the Bush Administration, the European Union, and many other governments.
Senator Mitchell is the author of four books: Men of Zeal, co-authored with then-Senator William S. Cohen; World on Fire; Not For America Alone: The Triumph of Democracy and The Fall of Communism; and Making Peace.