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10 Things You Didn't Know about Janet Mills

Janet Mills

Janet Mills is the current Governor of Maine. She has been involved in the state's politics for some time, as shown by how she has served two separate terms as its Attorney General. Like a lot of her counterparts in other states, Mills's measures to combat COVID-19 are now being challenged by various parties, which is an excellent example of how the crisis seems to be turning into a U.S. culture war before our very eyes.

1. Born and Raised in Farmington, ME

Mills was born and raised in Farmington, ME. Based on the name, it should come as no surprise to learn that the initial settlement had more fertile soil than most of its surroundings, with the result that crops and livestock became very important for its initial residents. However, Farmington continued to change over the course of its existence, as shown by how it proceeded to become a regional center of trade and manufacturing. Nowadays, Mills continues to live in her hometown, which has become a college town as well as something of a site of interest for tourists.

2. Had a Very Serious Case of Scoliosis

As a teenager, Mills had a very serious case of scoliosis, so much so that she was bedridden for almost a full year's time because of it. For those who are unfamiliar, scoliosis is when someone's spine has a sideways curve, which can either remain constant or become more and more severe over time. Generally speaking, mild cases will cause no issues, while serious causes can cause everything from pain, cardiac problems, and respiratory problems to limited mobility. In Mills's case, her scoliosis had to be corrected via a surgical procedure.

3. Learned the Value of Hard Work At a Young Age

Mills's grandparents were potato farmers. As a result, it is perhaps unsurprising that she learned the value of hard work when she was still at a young age. This can be seen in how Mills worked not one but two jobs when she was in school, with one being delivering newspapers in the morning and the other being serving meals at a local diner in the evenings.

4. Has Studied in a Number of Places

In time, Mills studied at a number of places. For instance, she spent some time at Colby College in Waterville, ME before working as a nursing assistant at a psychiatric hospital in San Francisco, CA. Later, Mills would study at the University of Massachusetts Boston before studying at the University of Maine School of Law, thus putting her on the path to becoming a lawyer.

5. Became Fluent in French

Speaking of which, Mills spent a year studying in western Europe when she was a student at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Thanks to this, she managed to become fluent in French through immersion, which is the most effective way to learn a new language for most people. However, Mills didn't just forget about her newfound fluency when she returned home to the United States. Instead, she turned it into her major, with the result that it became the basis of her eventual bachelor's degree from the University of Massachusetts Boston.

6. Became the First Female Criminal Prosecutor in Maine

Mills wasn't intent on becoming involved in law as well as public service from the very start. However, that is nonetheless the path that her experiences put her upon. As such, Mills became the first female criminal prosecutor in the state of Maine, which was followed up by her becoming an Assistant Attorney General and then a District Attorney. Her experiences with how the justice system could fail victims of domestic violence caused her to become involved in politics in a very noticeable way by co-founding the Maine Women’s Lobby for the purpose of advocating for battered and abused women.

7. Got Married to a Real Estate Developer

In 1985, Mills got married to a widower named Stanley Kuklinski. Said individual was a real estate developer. However, he was also her tennis instructor at the time. Since Kuklinski had five daughters, this meant that Mills gained an instant family when she married him. Nowadays, she has two step-granddaughters as well as three step-grandsons through her step-daughters.

8. Supports LGBT Rights

Mills is a supporter of LGBT rights. This can be seen in how she signed a bill banning conversion therapy in 2019, which is the pseudoscience-ridden practice of changing a person's sexual orientation from being either bisexual or homosexual to being heterosexual. Suffice to say that there have been some very abusive methods used for this purpose, with an excellent example being aversive conditioning carried out using electric shocks as well as nausea-inducing drugs. Just a year before, the same bill had passed through the Maine Legislature but was vetoed by the Republican Governor Paul LePage.

9. Has Shown Interest in Improving Relationship with Native Tribes in Maine

Thanks to her time as the Attorney General of Maine, Mills had something of a rocky relationship with the native tribes of Maine. However, she has shown an interest in improving that relationship in her current position as the Governor. For example, she signed a bill to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous People's Day. Likewise, she signed a bill for tougher water quality standards for the rivers used by the native tribes for sustenance fishing, which was a long-running point of contention. In fact, the signing was particularly noticeable because Mills had actually defended the state's previous position when she was the Attorney General.

10. Facing Resistance to Measures to Combat COVID-19

Currently, Mills is facing some resistance to her measures to combat COVID-19. As mentioned earlier, some of that resistance has come from restaurants determined to flout the rules by reopening without the authorities' permission. However, it is interesting to note that Republican politicians are seeking to recall the Maine Legislature to revoke some of the emergency powers given to Mills for the purpose of combating COVID-19. Supposedly, this is because she has failed to communicate with them, to which Mills's press secretary responded that she has had numerous conversations with both Democratic and Republican leaders.

Allen Lee

Written by Allen Lee

Allen Lee is a Toronto-based freelance writer who studied business in school but has since turned to other pursuits. He spends more time than is perhaps wise with his eyes fixed on a screen either reading history books, keeping up with international news, or playing the latest releases on the Steam platform, which serve as the subject matter for much of his writing output. Currently, Lee is practicing the smidgen of Chinese that he picked up while visiting the Chinese mainland in hopes of someday being able to read certain historical texts in their original language.

Read more posts by Allen Lee

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