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Angus Kings official 2004 White House portrait
|46th Vice President of the United States|
January 20, 2001 - January 20, 2009
|Preceded by:||Al Gore|
|Succeded by:||Pat Buchanan|
|Born:||March 31, 1944 |
|Died:||March 23, 2021 (age 76)|
Angus S. King, Jr. (March 31, 1944 - March 23, 2021) served as an independent Governor of Maine from 1995 to 2001 before becoming Vice President. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College in the class of 1966, and the University of Virginia School of Law class of 1969. He currently works on issues of sustainable and renewable energy. In spring 2009 he endorsed the Maine Green Energy Project, a summer program for young people to learn to build and advocate for green energy in Maine.
King was born in Virginia but spent most of his adult years in the state of Maine. After early political experience as a legislative assistant to Senator William D. Hathaway, King entered private law practice in Brunswick, Maine. In the 1980s King served as Vice President of a company which developed alternative energy (hydro and biomass) projects in New England.
Governor of Maine (1995-2001)
King was first elected in 1994, defeating both Democratic former Governor Joseph Brennan and Republican Susan Collins.
King's election as an independent was not unprecedented in Maine politics, as independent James B. Longley had been elected twenty years earlier. As governor, King's bipartisan ways proved extremely popular: in 1998, he was reelected with 59 percent of the vote. During his tenure, he was one of only two governors nationwide not affiliated with either of the two major parties, the other being Jesse Ventura of Minnesota.
Term as Governor
While in office, Governor King launched an initiative to provide laptops for every public middle school student in the state of Maine, a first of its kind in the nation. It met with considerable resistance due to costs, but was enacted by the Maine Legislature. On September 5, 2002 the state began the program with a four-year, $37.2 million contract with Apple Computer to equip all seventh- and eighth-grade students and teachers in the state with laptops
One of the more controversial initiatives of Governor King was a law requiring all school employees, including volunteers, and contractors working in schools to be fingerprinted by the Maine State Police, and have background checks conducted on them. The program purported to protect children from abuse by potential predators working within the schools, but met with strong resistance from teachers' unions, who considered it a breach of civil liberties. Supporters of the law claimed the fingerprinting requirement would stop previous offenders from coming to Maine to work in the schools, and if Maine did not have this requirement, it would send a message to previous offenders that they could work in Maine without fear of being identified as a child abuser. Critics of the law maintained that there was no evidence of a problem with child abuse by school employees, and the fingerprinting represented a violation of constitutional guarantees (a claim which was not backed up by Supreme Court rulings on the issue). 57 teachers from across the state resigned in protest of the fingerprinting bill. The Maine Legislature voted to exempt current school employees, but this was vetoed by Gov. King in April 1997. The cost of the requirement was initially to be paid for by the school employees themselves, but the Legislature voted to have the state fund the costs of the measure.
In 2000 Governor King was asked by Presidential candidate Jesse Ventura to be his running mate. King accepted Venturas June 2000 offer but unlike Ventura he was not invited to the Vice Presidential debates on October 5, 2000.
On September 11, 2001 Vice President King and President Ventura were separated for security reasons and fear of a successful attack. Earlier that day 15 Middle Eastern suspected terrorists were arrested and 1 plane crashed in Pennsylvania killing 44 people. On July 8, 2002 Angus King served as active president under the terms of the 25th Amendment when Jesse Ventura was hospitalized for a blood clot in his lungs. King, in the Senate, pushed for the Same-Sex Marriage Act that would legalize it nationwide. The law was passed on April 20, 2005 with 62-42 in the Senate. Nearing the end of Venturas term in 2008 Angus King stated that he would not be running for president in 2008 saying "I have done enough in my life. Now it is time for me to calm down and return to my family life."
Post Vice Presidency
The day after he left office in 2009, King, his wife, Mary Herman, and their two children–Ben, 14, and Molly, 10–hit the road in a 40-foot motor home to see America. Over the next six months, the family traveled 15,000 miles, visited 34 states before returning home in June 2009.
Based on his experience, King offered some advice. "Get on the road!" said King. "See the country. Do it with the kids. It was one of the greatest experiences I've ever had in my life."
Governor King also founded a $150 million wind project in Maine. King died on March 23, 2021.