Administrative staff, U.S. Senate retirement, Waterville (Me.)
Deborah “Deb” Cotter was born on November 7, 1967, in New York City. She grew up in Waterville, Maine, where her father was president of Colby College and her mother worked in the Career Development Office. She attended Wells College and received a degree in Russian studies. After graduating, Cotter worked in George Mitchell’s personal office in Washington, D.C., for four years as receptionist, legislative correspondent, and legislative aide on agricultural, fisheries, and environmental issues. After Mitchell retired, she moved to the Senate Historical Office as a research assistant and earned her master’s degree in history from George Mason University. She worked at the American Psychological Association on public policy for mental health issues for eight years. More recently, she worked for the nonprofit National Council on Independent Living. At the time of this interview, she was a management and program analyst in the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services of the U.S. Department of Education.
Interview includes discussion of: growing up in Waterville, Maine; being hired by Mitchell’s Senate office in 1990; the support of Mitchell’s staff when Cotter had a health emergency; the transition from receptionist to legislative correspondent and legislative aide; Mitchell’s investment in Maine issues; working with lobbyists as a legislative aide; the ambience of Mitchell’s personal office; the pecking order in Mitchell’s office; staff meetings; Cotter’s work after Mitchell announced his retirement; Mitchell’s influence on Cotter’s career; how the office changed after Mitchell announced his retirement; and Mitchell’s respect for opposing views.
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.