Administrative staff, Cory, Gayle, Democratic Policy Committee, Iran-Contra, Majority Leader, U.S. Senate retirement, Waterville (Me.)
Lauren (Griffin) Higgins was born on February 21, 1964, in Waterville, Maine, to Lawrence and Gail Griffin. Her grandfather was Eddie Atkins, husband of George Mitchell’s sister, Barbara. Lauren attended Waterville High School and earned her degree in biology from College of the Holy Cross. She interned in Senator Mitchell’s office and subsequently was hired as assistant to his personal secretary, Gayle Cory. When Mitchell was elected majority leader, Lauren became Martha Pope’s assistant in the Senate Majority Leader’s Office. After six months there, she returned to Maine to attend law school but returned to Washington, D.C. in 1993 and began working on the Democratic Policy Committee. In 1997, she moved to the legislative office at the Department of Health and Human Services, and in 2001 she became senior legislative analyst at the National Institute of Health, Office of Legislative Policy and Analysis.
Interview includes discussion of: the Lebanese community in Waterville; growing up in a politically active family and knowing of George Mitchell; the attitude of Mainers to politics and civic duty; interning in Mitchell’s Senate office; working as Gayle Cory’s assistant; the various relationships Higgins had with different staff members; working in the majority leader’s office; Higgins’ experience in law school; working on the Democratic Policy Committee and its responsibilities; Mitchell’s retirement announcement; comparing Senators Mitchell and Daschle as leader; Higgins’s experience at the Department of Health and Human Services; the National Institutes of Health; farewell luncheon for Donna Beck anecdote; public response to Iran-Contra and Mitchell’s questioning of Oliver North; reactions that the office received after Mitchell delivered the Democratic response to the State of the Union; how Mitchell made sure to make time on a busy day to have lunch with a little boy whose Make a Wish hope was to have lunch with him; Donna Beck as the office manager; Gayle Cory’s relationship with Mitchell; and Mitchell’s legacy.
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