AUGUSTA – Farmington’s Janet Mills made history today when she was sworn in by Gov. John Baldacci as Maine’s 55th attorney general.
Mills told the large crowd gathered in the House Chamber of the Statehouse that she is “the first attorney general from Franklin County,” instead of mentioning that she is the first woman to serve in the post. Mills was elected to the job by the Legislature in December, succeeding Steven Rowe, who served as many terms as allowed in the position.
Mills was sworn in along with Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap of Old Town, state Treasurer David Lemoine of Old Orchard Beach and Neria Douglass of Auburn as the state’s auditor in a ceremony held this afternoon.
Mills, a veteran prosecutor for nearly 20 years, a lawyer in private practice since 1995 with her brother, state Sen. Peter Mills at Wright & Mills in Skowhegan and was the House District 89 representative who was elected to a fourth term in November, said she was grateful for the opportunity.
“You have no idea how grateful I am,” Mills said.
Mills listed a few of the state’s former attorney generals and their accomplishments and noted, “It is a position that can do great things for Maine.”
She also said she hoped girls would aspire to be anything they wanted to be and women would continue to seek more opportunities. Looking down at her young niece from the podium, Mills said, “Julia, today we’re going to color outside the lines.”
At a reception held afterward, Gov. Baldacci said Mills was well qualified for the job. “She’s a fighter, she will be a great voice for the people of Maine as attorney general,” he said.
Mills’ brother Paul, a historian and author who is a lawyer practicing in Farmington said, “she has really earned the position.” He pointed out that only two of Maine’s former attorney generals had as much prosecutorial experience as Mills has.
“For the family, it’s exhilarating, gratifying,” Paul Mills said. “After all her years of work she has been able to achieve this.”
A special election to fill the vacated House District 89 seat will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 3 in the towns of Farmington and Industry. Republican Lance Harvell of Farmington and democrat Dennis Haszko of Farmington are running for the seat.