ICYMI: Op-Ed Praises Gov. Janet Mills’ Grit and Accomplishments
“We Want Leaders Who Aren’t Afraid to Make the Tough Call in Times of Crisis, and That’s What Mills Has Done”
A recent op-ed by Maine resident and Navy veteran D. Allen Kerr highlights Gov. Janet Mills’ history of public service and her proven commitment to fighting for all Mainers — even in the face of immense barriers.
“I’ve always sensed uncommon grit beneath what sometimes seems like the pixieish persona of Maine Gov. Janet Mills,” Kerr wrote. “And that was before I learned she has a backbone of steel. Like, literally.”
At 14, Gov. Mills had a steel rod inserted into her back due to her scoliosis, leaving her immobile for nine months. She’s also openly discussed surviving an abusive relationship, serving as a mom while district attorney, and losing her husband of 29 years following a stroke.
But Gov. Mills hasn’t let hardships deter her passion for public service, and she’s gone on to pioneer a path for women in politics. Before she was elected as the first female governor of Maine, Gov. Mills served as the first female attorney general of Maine, and before that, she was the first woman district attorney in all of New England, shattering her fair share of glass ceilings.
“Mills displayed a spine of steel figuratively as well as physically during her first term,” Kerr wrote. “Now Mainers need to decide who they want back in that office over the next four years. You want a hero or a joker?”
Read key excerpts from the op-ed below.
Seacoastonline: Kerr: Maine’s governor has a backbone of steel. Like, literally.
I’ve always sensed uncommon grit beneath what sometimes seems like the pixieish persona of Maine Gov. Janet Mills. And that was before I learned she has a backbone of steel. Like, literally.
Mills suffered so badly from scoliosis as a child she underwent surgery to insert rods into her spine at the age of 15. Then she had to remain immobilized in a body cast for nearly nine months, confined to a hospital bed in her family living room.
As someone who’s shared a roof with a teenage daughter, I don’t think I can imagine what a grueling experience that must have been for Mills. But as a comic book geek from way back, I happen to know this is the kind of experience which forges superheroes.
Mills apparently didn’t gain a superpower from her childhood trauma, but as an adult she’s shattered more glass ceilings than a whole slew of Batman movies.
Even before she became the state’s first female governor, she was Maine’s first female attorney general. And before that she was the first woman in the history of New England to serve as a district attorney (which is kind of amazing), and before THAT she was Maine’s first female criminal prosecutor.
For better or worse, a lot of voters like candidates who have experienced adversity in their lives. If they’ve demonstrated grace, courage, tenacity and inner strength in surviving their particular struggles, we like to think these folks will bring these same qualities to the office they seek. And maybe they’ll actually understand some of the hardships voters have to endure.
Mills has openly discussed an abusive relationship she survived in her younger years. Later, in 1985, she married her tennis instructor, a widower named Stanley Kuklinski who had five daughters. She had to learn how to be an instant mom while also performing the duties of a district attorney and, later, a state legislator. Her husband died after 29 years of marriage, following a stroke.
“I realized that what we were growing through — high deductibles and co-pays and the cost of pharmaceutical drugs — was no different than what thousands of Maine families go through every year, every day, across our state,” Mills said during her first campaign for governor. “It’s those people I think about every day when I get up and go to the office to help the citizens of Maine.”
Good luck with that when it comes to Mills. She’s a former freaking DA from Farmington. She’s tried murder cases, she’s prosecuted drug dealers. She’s taken on Wall Street and won, she’s challenged billion-dollar pharmaceutical companies and won.
We want leaders who aren’t afraid to make the tough call in times of crisis, and that’s what Mills has done throughout the pandemic. Now her predecessor, a bigmouthed buffoon in a Florida tan, has returned to Maine to try to take back his old job. (You know how Batman’s nemesis The Joker never seems to go away for good? He’s kind of like that.)
Mills displayed a spine of steel figuratively as well as physically during her first term. Now Mainers need to decide who they want back in that office over the next four years.
You want a hero or a joker?