Acadia National Park, Administrative staff, Budget Enforcement Act of 1990, Bush, George H.W., Byrd, Robert C., Clean Air Act, Cohen, William S., Crime Bill (1994), Democratic Policy Committee, Dole, Robert J., Environment and Public Works Committee, Humor, Iran-Contra, Majority Leader, Northern Ireland, Thomas, Clarence
Martin Patrick “Marty” Paone was born in Everett, Massachusetts, in 1951. His father was a National Labor Relations Board field examiner and his mother was a nurse. He attended Boston College, graduating in 1972 with degrees in economics and philosophy. He moved to Washington, D.C. in September of 1974 to pursue a master’s degree in Russian studies at Georgetown University, and while there he worked in the House post office and as a parking lot attendant at the Senate parking lot. This led to a job in the Senate Cloakroom in 1979 after he completed his degree. In 1982 he joined the Democratic floor staff, and in 1991 he became assistant Democratic secretary of the Senate. In 1995 he succeeded Abby Saffold as the Democratic secretary and remained in that post until 2008. At the time of this interview, he was a member of the lobbying firm Timmons & Company.
Martha Pope was born in Newcastle, Pennsylvania, and grew up in Connecticut. She attended the University of Connecticut, majoring in sociology with minors in psychology and statistics and in art. She earned a master’s degree in art education at Southern Connecticut University. She taught art for five years in elementary and junior high school, and then she moved to Washington, D.C. and started work on Capitol Hill. She worked for Senator John Culver, and when Culver lost his bid for reelection, Senator Mitchell kept her on as Environment and Public Works Committee staff focusing on fish and wildlife issues. She became his administrative assistant, and when he became majority leader she became chief of staff to the majority leader. In 1990 she was nominated to be sergeant-at-arms of the Senate, and in 1994 she became secretary of the Senate; she retired from that office in January 1995. She joined the State Department to work with Senator Mitchell on Northern Ireland issues, which eventually led to the Good Friday Peace Agreement of 1998.
Abby Saffold was born Carol Abbott “Abby” Reid in Baltimore, Maryland, and attended high school in Framingham, Massachusetts. At Bates College, she majored in history with a minor in government, then began a master’s degree program for arts in teaching at Antioch College; as part of that program, she taught junior high school for a year in Washington, D.C. She decided to pursue a job on Capitol Hill and found work first for Congressman William Lloyd Scott and then Congressman Lloyd Meeds. Subsequently, she was hired as a legislative secretary by Senator Gaylord Nelson and then worked for the Subcommittee on Constitutional Amendments for Senator Birch Bayh. In 1979 she joined the Democratic Policy floor staff, where she remained until Senator Byrd nominated her to be secretary for the majority (Democratic secretary) in 1987. She retired from that position in 1995.
Interview includes discussion of: how each of the interviewees came to work for Senator Mitchell; first impressions of Mitchell; Martha Pope’s work on the Environment and Public Works Committee; Mitchell’s intellectual capacity; Mitchell’s treatment of other senators and his staff; the impression that Mitchell made with Senator Byrd early on; Abby Saffold’s interaction with Mitchell as a member of the Democratic floor staff when he was a junior senator; majority leader race; Byrd’s parliamentarian skills; Mitchell’s speechmaking skills; Brunswick (Me.) bypass; authorization of boundaries for Acadia National Park; the reason Henry Kissinger was not asked to testify regarding Iran-Contra; Mitchell’s performance questioning Oliver North on Iran-Contra; an anecdote about Mitchell and Senator Cohen watching a basketball game together during the Iran-Contra affair; Mitchell’s relations with the Maine delegation; Mitchell’s leadership style; Mitchell’s relationship with Dole, the expectation that there would be no surprises; “read my lips, no new taxes” and President George H.W. Bush; the Clean Air Act reauthorization and tension with Byrd; Crime Bill; Senator Helms’s filibuster; the Clarence Thomas nomination and congresswomen marching on the Senate Democratic caucus; Marty Paone’s playing an April Fools joke on Mitchell; convincing Mitchell to do an interview with the National Journal before the leader race; and how Mitchell sparingly praised staff.
The audio recording of this interview is restricted during the lifetime of Senator George J. Mitchell. 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.