Administrative staff, Driving, Maine gubernatorial campaign (1974), Maine politics, Presidential campaign (1992), U.S. Senate campaign (1982), Veterans' Affairs Committee
Barry Lee Valentine was born September 12, 1943, in Emporia Kansas. He grew up in York Harbor, Maine, attended York High School, and received a degree in engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. During college he took part in ROTC and after graduation joined the Air Force, serving as a pilot in Vietnam. He left the Air Force in 1972 and returned to Maine, where he helped run an airfield and became involved in politics because a neighbor ran for a seat in the Maine state legislature. He was the York county coordinator for the Maine public power campaign and then joined George Mitchell’s 1974 gubernatorial primary campaign, serving as a scheduler and driver. That fall he ran unsuccessfully for state Senate. He worked in Augusta, Maine, as a staffer for the state House majority leader. In 1976 he made a successful bid for a seat in the state legislature. In 1979 he became a district manager for the 1980 census. He worked in aviation, managing the Portland Jet Port, serving as the regional vice chairman of the National Association of State Aviation Officials, and as chairman of the Airports Committee. Then in 1992 he began work as a staffer for Senate Majority Leader Mitchell on the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs. After the committee completed its work, Valentine became an administrator at the FAA during the Clinton administration. At the time of this interview he was semi-retired.
Interview includes discussion of: family and educational background; Valentine’s love of flying; Air Force and Vietnam; working on Neil Rolde’s 1972 campaign; the Maine public power referendum; working for George Mitchell in the 1974 gubernatorial campaign; an anecdote about a mill worker who wanted to know what Mitchell would ‘do about them women’ who were getting jobs on the mill floor; Barry’s insights as scheduler/driver; Mitchell’s position on two Democratic planks – gay rights and amnesty for those who avoided the draft – and an anecdote explaining his position to four truckers at a Bangor truck stop; Barry’s running for state senate in 1974 and winning election to the state legislature in 1976; the 1980 census; Mitchell’s 1982 campaign; working on the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs; the 1992 presidential election; and Mitchell’s commitment to his beliefs even when they were politically unpopular.
This recording and transcription are © 2011 Bowdoin College and are presented for private study, scholarship, or research only. For all other uses, including publication, reproduction, and quotation beyond “fair use” (Title 17, United States Code) permission must be obtained in writing from the George J. Mitchell Dept. of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library, 3000 College Station, Brunswick, Maine 04011-8421, USA.