Administrative staff, Cory, Gayle, Driving, Health care, Loring Air Force Base, Maine politics, Majority Leader, McAleney, Mary, Mitchell Institute, U.S. Senate campaign (1982)
Mary Elizabeth McAleney was born on March 18, 1945, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Her mother, Helen Irene (Twombly) McAleney, was a Works Progress Administration worker, and her father, William McAleney, was a U.S. Customs officer. Mary came from a strongly Democratic Maine family and was politically active from a young age. She was sent from her home near Vanceboro, Maine, to St. Joseph’s boarding school in South Portland, and from there she went to Merrimac College. After her graduation, she taught high school in Maine, first at St. Joseph’s and then at Catherine McAuley High School. After eight years of teaching, she went into political work. She quickly rose through the ranks during Senator Muskie’s ‘76 campaign and worked for state Senator Jim Tierney. She served in George Mitchell’s U.S. Senate office for ten years (1984-1994), focusing on Maine issues.
Interview includes discussions of: George Mitchell’s dedication to and impact on Maine as senator and majority leader; opportunities for young people within Mitchell’s Senate office; health care: spousal impoverishment legislation; Talmadge Plantation; Mitchell Scholarship program/Mitchell Institute; sending Maine bottled water to the Senate; achieving balance between Maine and national politics; Mitchell’s understanding of human nature; Martha Pope; relationship between Pope and Mitchell; Loring Air Force Base and its closure; Paul Haines; Bob Corolla; McAleney’s introduction to the Mitchell staff and her job definition; Gayle Cory and her “wits and know-how”; Mitchell’s Senate Pioneer Scholarship; Mitchell’s 1982 campaign; and driving stories.
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