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Democrat

Rep. Michael Michaud (D)

Michael Michaud Contact
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Email: n/a
DC Contact Information

Phone: 202-225-6306

Address: 1724 LHOB, DC 20515

Michael Michaud Biography
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  • Elected: 2002, 6th term.
  • District: Maine 2
  • Born: Jan. 18, 1955, Millinocket
  • Home: East Millinocket
  • Education:

    Schenck H.S., 1973

  • Professional Career:

    Mill worker, Great Northern Paper, 1973-2002.

  • Political Career:

    ME House, 1980-94; ME Senate, 1994-2001, Pres., 2001.

  • Religion:

    Catholic

  • Family: Single

Mike Michaud, a moderate Democrat first elected in 2002, is a former union worker who remains an ardent advocate for organized labor. Accordingly, he has been at the forefront of an effort to rethink U.S. trade policy. In August 2013, Michaud announced he would challenge Republican Gov. Paul LePage in 2014. If he succeeds, his election would be a milestone in the gay rights movement: Michaud would become the first openly gay person to be elected governor of a state. Read More

Mike Michaud, a moderate Democrat first elected in 2002, is a former union worker who remains an ardent advocate for organized labor. Accordingly, he has been at the forefront of an effort to rethink U.S. trade policy. In August 2013, Michaud announced he would challenge Republican Gov. Paul LePage in 2014. If he succeeds, his election would be a milestone in the gay rights movement: Michaud would become the first openly gay person to be elected governor of a state.

Michaud (mee-SHOO) grew up in East Millinocket in the North Woods in a blue-collar family. He is one of the few members of Congress who did not attend college. For 29 years, he was a mill worker and union member at Great Northern Paper, and still proudly displays in his office the lunch bucket he used to carry to work. “I know what it’s like to work the day shift, the midnight shift. I’ve been on strike. I know what it’s like to worry about whether you will have a job or not,” Michaud says.

In 1980, he was elected to the state House and in 1994 to the state Senate, where he chaired the Appropriations Committee and became Senate president. Michaud has an eclectic mix of political views: He is staunchly pro-labor, but opposes abortion rights. He opposes drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, but strongly supports gun ownership.

When Democrat John Baldacci left his 2nd District seat to run for governor in 2002, six Democrats lined up for the primary. Michaud’s chief opponent was state Sen. Susan Longley of Lewiston, the daughter of former independent Gov. James Longley and sister of the 1st District’s former Republican congressman, James Longley Jr. She emphasized her support for abortion rights. With strong support from organized labor, Michaud got 31% to Longley’s 28%. It was a regional contest: Michaud carried the five most rural counties and won 66% of the vote in Aroostook. Longley carried six counties chiefly in the southern part of the district and won 59% in trendy coastal Waldo County.

In the general election, Michaud faced Kevin Raye, the chief of staff to then Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe. Michaud attempted to turn Raye’s experience into a liability. His campaign slogan was, “I’m One of Us, Working for Us,” contrasting his blue-collar background with Raye’s white-collar job in Washington. Hoping to appeal to feminists despite his opposition to abortion, Michaud set out a 10-point “women’s equity agenda,” including support for family planning, increased child care aid, breast cancer research, and equal pay for equal work. Michaud defeated Raye 52%-48%. He ran better than most Democrats in rural areas, winning 53% in the seven northern counties, where unions conducted a voter-turnout drive in the mill towns.

In the House, Michaud’s voting record has been moderate for a Democrat, though he has become slightly more loyal on major legislation since Republicans gained control of the House in 2011. He is among the few New Englanders in the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition, and he originally endorsed John Edwards in the 2008 presidential race. Michaud voted against a June 2010 bill extending unemployment insurance because he said it was loaded with pork barrel spending, including help for catfish farmers and Hawaiian sugar cane growers. “Using the plight of the jobless as a way to lard up bills for pet issues represents the worst of the political process and is the height of irresponsibility,” he said. He was skeptical about the health care overhaul bill in 2009, but agreed to back it after getting a personal pitch from President Barack Obama. He displayed his independence in January 2011 by backing Heath Shuler of North Carolina, a fellow Blue Dog, over liberal Nancy Pelosi for Democratic leader, although he supported her two years later when she ran again for the post.

Michaud has worked to unite workers and environmentalists on trade and has emerged as a power broker on the issue. He co-founded the House Trade Working Group, whose members are highly skeptical of trade agreements. He sponsored a bill in 2009 calling for a review of all existing trade agreements and for halting new ones, which attracted 148 cosponsors, including more than half of the House Democratic caucus. Pro-trade U.S. corporations, he said in 2009, are “looking out for their own interests, not the best interests of security here in the United States or for jobs here in the United States.”

He also led an effort in March 2010 to have the Obama administration address China’s undervalued currency by applying countervailing duties on Chinese exports. And after learning that some U.S. soldiers were wearing Chinese-made shoes, he introduced a bill seeking to compel the Pentagon to buy footwear from American companies and took U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk on a tour of a New Balance shoe factory in his district in 2012.

After Democrats won a House majority in 2006, Michaud vied to become chairman of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee. But California Rep. Bob Filner had more seniority, and although he worried some Democrats with his occasional outbursts of bad temper, he won a vote in the Democratic Caucus, 112-69. When Filner retired in 2012, Michaud assumed the top Democratic spot on the panel. He has repeatedly advocated for more veterans to receive treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder and also for more money for the care of severely disabled veterans.

After two relatively easy reelection wins, Michaud faced a bit more difficulty in the anti-incumbent environment of 2010, when his opponent was Republican marketing company owner Jason Levesque, a political newcomer and staunch conservative. But Michaud campaigned hard, making regular trips home through the fall, and won with 55% of the vote. Two years later, Michaud found himself matched against his original House opponent, Raye, who had risen to become president of the state Senate. He ran a solid campaign that featured an endorsement from the popular Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine as well as nods from some Maine newspapers. But Michaud had the advantage of incumbency, and he won comfortably with 58%.

Michaud in August 2013 launched his campaign to unseat LePage, an often controversial chief executive given to inflammatory, off-the-cuff remarks. Also in the contest was lawyer and businessman Eliot Cutler, an independent who finished second to LePage in 2010. Michaud took the highly unusual step of announcing in October 2013 that he is gay, a decision he said was prompted by a whisper campaign about his sexuality by unnamed political foes. In an op-ed submitted to the Bangor Daily News and the Portland Press Herald, Michaud wrote, "I wasn't surprised to learn about the whisper campaigns, insinuations and push polls some of the people opposed to my candidacy have been using to raise questions about my personal life. They want people to question whether I am gay. Allow me to save them the trouble with a simple, honest answer: Yes, I am. But why should it matter?"

The immediate fallout was positive for Michaud. The Bangor newspaper published an editorial applauding his decision, saying, "It takes courage to share something so personal." And patrons of a Lewiston, Maine hot dog shop frequented by local politicians told the Portland paper that Michaud's sexual orientation did not concern them. Restaurant owner Linda Simones, a Republican, told the newspaper, "He's a regular guy. We love him for who he is and always have." Maine voters approved same-sex marriage, 53% to 47%, in 2012.

Moreover, Michaud should have no trouble focusing the debate on LePage's record in office, including a comment the incumbent was quoted as making at a closed fundraiser in Belgrade, Maine in late summer 2013. Several GOP donors told the Bangor Daily News that LePage said that President Barack Obama "hates white people" during his critique of the president's health care law. LePage denied making the comment. While declining to accuse LePage of making that and other controversial statements, Michaud says in his campaign material that Maine residents "deserve a governor they can be proud of" and one with the "experience and temperament to bring people" together.

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Michael Michaud Election Results
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2012 General
Michael Michaud (D)
Votes: 191,456
Percent: 58.19%
Kevin Raye (R)
Votes: 137,542
Percent: 41.81%
2012 Primary
Michael Michaud (D)
Votes: 21,895
Percent: 100.0%
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (55%), 2008 (67%), 2006 (71%), 2004 (58%), 2002 (52%)
Michael Michaud Votes and Bills
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National Journal’s rating system is an objective method of analyzing voting. The liberal score means that the lawmaker’s votes were more liberal than that percentage of his colleagues’ votes. The conservative score means his votes were more conservative than that percentage of his colleagues’ votes. The composite score is an average of a lawmaker’s six issue-based scores. See all NJ Voting

More Liberal
More Conservative
2013 2012 2011
Economic 66 (L) : 34 (C) 71 (L) : 28 (C) 65 (L) : 34 (C)
Social 60 (L) : 39 (C) 62 (L) : 38 (C) 63 (L) : 36 (C)
Foreign 79 (L) : 20 (C) 84 (L) : 16 (C) 84 (L) : 12 (C)
Composite 68.7 (L) : 31.3 (C) 72.5 (L) : 27.5 (C) 71.7 (L) : 28.3 (C)
Interest Group Ratings

The vote ratings by 10 special interest groups provide insight into a lawmaker’s general ideology and the degree to which he or she agrees with the group’s point of view. Two organizations provide just one combined rating for 2011 and 2012, the two sessions of the 112th Congress. They are the ACLU and the ITIC. About the interest groups.

20112012
FRC00
LCV9189
CFG116
ITIC-67
NTU1924
20112012
COC25-
ACLU-100
ACU48
ADA9585
AFSCME100-
Key House Votes

The key votes show how a member of Congress voted on the major bills of the year. N indicates a "no" vote; Y a "yes" vote. If a member voted "present" or was absent, the bill caption is not shown. For a complete description of the bills included in key votes, see the Almanac's Guide to Usage.

    • Pass GOP budget
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2012
    • End fiscal cliff
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Extend payroll tax cut
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Find AG in contempt
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2012
    • Stop student loan hike
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2012
    • Repeal health care
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2012
    • Raise debt limit
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Pass cut, cap, balance
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2011
    • Defund Planned Parenthood
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2011
    • Repeal lightbulb ban
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2011
    • Add endangered listings
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Speed troop withdrawal
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Regulate financial firms
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Pass tax cuts for some
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Stop detainee transfers
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2010
    • Legalize immigrants' kids
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Repeal don't ask, tell
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Limit campaign funds
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Overturn Ledbetter
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Pass $820 billion stimulus
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Let guns in national parks
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Pass cap-and-trade
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Bar federal abortion funds
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Pass health care bill
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Bail out financial markets
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2008
    • Repeal D.C. gun law
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2008
    • Overhaul FISA
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2008
    • Increase minimum wage
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Expand SCHIP
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Raise CAFE standards
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Share immigration data
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2007
    • Foreign aid abortion ban
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2007
    • Ban gay bias in workplace
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2007
    • Withdraw troops 8/08
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2007
    • No operations in Iran
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Free trade with Peru
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2007
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The Almanac is a members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics. Comprehensive online profiles include biographical and political summaries of elected officials, campaign expenditures, voting records, interest-group ratings, and congressional staff look-ups. In-depth overviews of each state and house district are included as well, along with demographic data, analysis of voting trends, and political histories.
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