Governor Janet Mills took the oath of office for a second term as governor of Maine in a ceremony at the Augusta Civic Center on the evening of January 4. In her historic reelection victory, she earned more votes than any governor in Maine history. She is also the first woman governor of Maine and the first governor since 1970 to be elected with a majority of the votes for both terms in office.
In her second Inaugural Address, Governor Mills spoke of hope: “It is an honor to lead a people where everything good is possible and where we believe always, deep in our hearts, ‘the best is yet to come!’”
She declared her intention to focus on strengthening Maine’s economy and addressing the workforce shortage, housing crunch, opioid epidemic, high energy costs, and child abuse and neglect, among other issues.
The Governor’s second inauguration featured poetry and musical performances, including the Pihcintu Multinational Girls Choir. She spoke directly to the whole girls’ choir, including “my young friends Shy and Natasha, who graced this same stage with their presence four years ago. Welcome back! You are more beautiful than ever!”
In her speech, Governor Mills referred to the changing demographics in Maine state government. “Exactly one hundred years ago, Dora Bradbury Pinkham of Fort Kent, Maine, became the first woman to serve in this Legislature…I hope Dora Pinkham would be pleased to know that today half our congressional delegation are women; that a black woman from Portland (Speaker Rachel Talbot Ross) is our Speaker of the House, and that a woman whose own roots lie deep in Pinkham’s beloved County, has now taken the oath for the second time to serve as Governor of the state.”
The governor’s comments referenced immigrants twice in connection to her theme of ‘hope’: “There is hope too in the eyes of those who have forded raging rivers, thick forests, steep mountains and rough seas to seek refuge and work in our country and in our state” and “Hope in the faces of the women shopkeepers in Lewiston and Portland who are selling fabrics, foods and spices from other countries, these industrious mothers of soccer champions, daughters of another continent.”