Bangor (Me.), Cory, Gayle, Driving, Muskie Senate reelection campaign (1976), Presidential campaign (1972), U.S. Senate campaign (1982)
John Nathan Diamond was born on November 12, 1954, in Bangor, Maine. His father, Nathan Diamond, was a musician and a teacher, and his mother, Eleanor Diamond, was active in the community and in local politics. John followed politics with his parents, who were registered Republicans until 1978 when they changed their party affiliation and became Democrats. As a teenager, John volunteered for Elmer Violette and Bill Hathaway in 1972. After graduating from Bangor High School, he attended the University of Maine, graduating in 1977. He became involved in the Carter and Muskie campaigns of 1976. He worked for the Lewiston Sun-Journal after college, covering local politics, and then took a job running Jim Henderson’s primary campaign of 1978. He worked for Bill Hathaway in the general election that year and then took a job as a staffer in the Maine state House majority office. In 1980, he was elected to a House seat representing Bangor, and in 1982 he was reelected unopposed. Not having to campaign much for himself, he worked for Mitchell’s 1982 campaign. He met Marcia in 1985 and they were married September 13, 1986. They have two children and live in Bangor, Maine, where John worked for the University of Maine system as executive director of external affairs at the time of this interview.
Marcia LaRochelle Diamond was born on June 8, 1962, in Bath, Maine, to Mary Sullivan LaRochelle and Neil LaRochelle. Marcia was the fourth of six children. Her father was a principal in the Bath school system, and he ran a family business called LaRochelle and Sons Market Gardens. Her mother encouraged her to get involved in politics in order to broaden her experience beyond being a teacher, which was the career that Marcia aspired to achieve. Marcia attended the University of Maine, Farmington, graduating early in order to intern in Mitchell’s office in Washington D.C. She began in the press office, and when the term of her internship was over she was hired as assistant press secretary. After a few years, she moved back to Maine to provide Senator Mitchell’s office with a press presence at home. After marrying John and finding that Mitchell’s seat was safe for the 1988 campaign, Marcia retired from her political career and pursued teaching. She began teaching sixth grade at East Corinth School and became involved in the Odyssey of the Mind program. After a hiatus rearing her children, she returned to teaching at St. Mary’s Catholic School, which merged with St. John’s Catholic School in 2000 to become All Saints Catholic School, where Marcia served as principal at the time of this interview.
Interview includes discussions of: growing up in Maine; the 1972 election; the University of Maine; the 1976 election; John’s running for the legislature in 1980; the Penobscot County Democrats; taking John’s seventy-five year old grandmother to see President Carter during his visit to Bangor in 1980; Bangor in the 1960s and 1970s; Marcia’s connection with Gayle Cory; Marcia’s internship in Mitchell’s Senate office in Washington, D.C. and subsequent work in Mitchell’s press office; Marcia’s decision to return to Maine; how John and Marcia met, their first date, and John’s proposal; how John got involved in Mitchell’s 1982 campaign; the field operation in 1982; how Mitchell developed his public persona; forecasting that nuclear and environmental issues would become crucial issues in the 1980s; the campaign strategy of following up on phone calls with letters about issues relevant to the phone conversation; the Fourth of July Parade in Bangor as a turning point in the 1982 campaign; election night, 1982; Marcia’s involvement with Odyssey of the Mind; John’s and Marcia’s small business; Marcia’s career in education; John’s work with Maine Public Broadcasting; how Marcia learned from Gayle Cory to never take “no” for an answer; and the forgotten luggage story.
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.