Environment, Maine gubernatorial campaign (1974), Muskie, Edmund S., Muskie vice presidential campaign (1968), U.S. Senate appointment (1980), U.S. Senate retirement
Leon Billings was born in Helena, Montana, on November 19, 1937. His parents, Harry and Gretchen Billings, were progressive journalists. He was graduated from high school in Helena, Montana, in 1955 and then attended Reed College for one year in Portland, Oregon. He completed his undergraduate studies and took graduate courses toward an M.A. at the University of Montana. Billings worked as a reporter and organizer for farm groups in Montana and California. He met his first wife, Pat, in California; they married in Montana and moved to Washington, D.C., on January 4, 1963. While in Washington, Billings worked for the American Public Power Association for three years as a lobbyist. In March 1966, he accepted a job on the Subcommittee on Air and Water Pollution on the Public Works Committee. He worked for Sen. Edmund Muskie helping to coordinate work on environmental policy. From 1966 to 1978, he served as Muskie’s chief of staff. He served on the Democratic Platform Committee staff in 1968 and in 1974 was co-chairman of a Democratic National Committee task force on Energy and the Environment. He later served as president of the Edmund S. Muskie Foundation, a tax-exempt foundation endowed with an appropriation from Congress to perpetuate the environmental legacy of Senator Muskie. Leon Billings passed away on November 15, 2016.
Interview includes discussion of: Edmund S. Muskie's political career and vice-presidential campaign (1968); Mitchell's 1974 Maine gubernatorial campaign (1974) and his U.S. Senate appointment (1980); environmental legislation; personal comparisons between Muskie and Mitchell and comparisons of their respective administrative offices; and Mitchell's decision to retire from the U.S. Senate.
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