News

Women’s Law Association honors Libby Mitchell, ‘05

Nov. 26, 2012

PORTLAND, Maine – The Women’s Law Association at the University of Maine School of Law has selected Elizabeth “Libby” Mitchell of Vassalboro as the recipient of its annual Outstanding Alumna Award.

Mitchell, a 2005 graduate of Maine Law, has been a longtime advocate for women’s rights, state legislator and Democratic candidate for governor. She is the first woman in the country to have been elected at the state level both as Speaker of the House and President of the Senate. Mitchell will be honored at a reception this Friday Nov. 30th in Portland.

Every fall semester, the Women’s Law Association awards one alumna for outstanding contributions to the legal community. Past recipients have included former U.S. Attorney Paula Silsby, Judge Beth Dobson, Justice Nancy Mills, Chief Justice Leigh Saufley, Professor Nancy Wanderer, and attorneys Jennifer Archer and Sara Gagne-Holmes.

“Libby is a lady and a politician, a mother and a visionary,” said Carly Traub, communications manager for the WLA. “In the 1970s, Libby served in the Maine State Legislature where she and her female colleagues, like Senator Olympia Snowe, were called ‘affectionately,’ and more than a little patronizingly, the ‘lovelies.’ In the years that followed, Libby mentored generations of female candidates and legislators to advocate for their friends, families, communities, and constituents in the halls of the State House, all while raising four children and changing the face of politics in Maine.”

Between 1974 and 2010, Mitchell served nearly continuously in the Maine Legislature, first as a representative and later as a leading member of the senate. She has run for the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives, and she was the Democratic nominee for Governor in 2010. In 1980, Mitchell became the first woman in Maine to be elected as House Majority Leader. She became the state’s first woman Speaker of the House in 1996, and in 2006 she became only the third woman to serve as Senate Majority Leader. She was President of the Maine Senate from 2008 to 2010.

For information about Friday’s event, please contact the Women’s Law Association at wla@maine.edu.

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Media contact: Trevor Maxwell, communications director at Maine Law
Office: 207-228-8037/ Cell: 207-286-4431/ email: trevor.maxwell@maine.edu

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