Bowdoin College, Democratic National Convention (1964), Legal career, Maine legislature, Maine politics
Francis C. Marsano was born on September 8, 1936, in Bangor, Maine; his parents were Elton L. Marsano and Gertrude Mannette Marsano. He was one of five children and grew up in Belfast, Maine, living there until World War II, when his family moved to Quincy, Massachusetts, so that his father could work in a defense plant. His mother was a nurse. His grandfather remained in Belfast after his family’s move, and they often traveled to Maine to visit him. On these trips Marsano frequently passed through Brunswick, Maine, and decided that he wanted to attend Bowdoin College. After being graduated from Bowdoin in 1958, he pursued a law degree from the University of Michigan. He met George Mitchell at the 1964 Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and they enjoyed further encounters through shared experiences as Maine lawyers and Bowdoin alumni. Marsano was very active in Maine politics and was elected to the state House of Representatives in 1986, serving until 1992 when he was appointed to a judgeship. He also served as president of the Maine State Bar Association. He retired from the bench, and in 2007 Governor John Baldacci nominated him to the Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices, on which he served as a commissioner at the time of this interview.
Interview includes discussion of: family and educational background; decision to attend Bowdoin College and his experiences there; Marsano’s involvement in politics; Barry Goldwater; the 1964 Democratic National Convention; Mitchell’s relationship with Muskie; Mitchell’s skill as a lawyer; working with Governor John “Jock” McKernan; Maine political campaigns and strategy; Mitchell’s decision to step down as federal judge and how that speaks to his commitment to public service; changes in Maine politics over time; the award that Mitchell received from the Maine State Bar Association after the Iran-Contra investigation; Mitchell’s leadership skills; the occasion when Mitchell welcomed the Maine State Bar Association to his Senate leader office; and Mitchell’s reputation as a great American.
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.