Administrative staff, Cory, Gayle, Maine Indian Land Claims Settlement Act, Mitchell Institute, Muskie, Edmund S., U.S. Senate appointment (1980)
Estelle Lavoie was born in Lewiston, Maine, on November 23, 1949, and grew up there, the youngest of three children. Her father worked as a building contractor until his death in 1964, after which her mother worked part-time as a bank teller. Estelle attended Lewiston public schools and was graduated from Bates College (class of 1971), spending her junior year studying in Switzerland. At the end of 1972, she went to work for Governor Ken Curtis. By September of 1973, she had been hired as part of Senator Ed Muskie’s staff, working first as a caseworker and eventually as his legislative assistant. She attended law school at American University from 1978 to 1981 and transitioned to Senator Mitchell’s staff when he assumed Muskie’s Senate seat. She left Mitchell’s staff in the fall of 1983 and joined the law firm of Preti, Flaherty, Beliveau & Pachios the following June. Her practice has evolved from health law to other political practice issues. She served on the Democratic State Committee from 1986 to 1990 and was a delegate to the 1988 National Convention.
Interview includes discussions of: meeting Senator Mitchell; Mitchell’s appointment to the Senate; Indian Land Claims Settlement case and its importance to the State of Maine; other colleagues on the Mitchell staff and their job responsibilities; Mitchell’s retention of Senator Muskie’s staff; leadership styles of Senators Muskie and Mitchell; conceptualizing and forming the George Mitchell Scholarship and Research Institute; and Mitchell’s strengths including: intelligence, compassion, gratitude, modesty, speaking ability, hard work, and dedication.
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