George Mitchell was appointed to the United States Senate in 1980 to complete the unexpired term of Senator Edmund S. Muskie, who resigned to become Secretary of State. He was elected to a full term in the Senate in 1982 in a stunning come-from-behind victory. After trailing in public opinion polls by 36 points, Senator Mitchell rallied to win the election, receiving 61 percent of the votes cast. Senator Mitchell went on to an illustrious career in the Senate spanning 14 years.
In 1988, he was reelected with 81 percent of the vote, the largest margin in Maine history. He left the Senate in 1995 as the Senate Majority Leader, a position he had held since January 1989.
Senator Mitchell enjoyed bipartisan respect during his tenure. It has been said, “there is not a man, woman or child in the Capitol who does not trust George Mitchell.” For six consecutive years he was voted ‘the most respected member” of the Senate by a bipartisan group of senior congressional aides.
Senator Mitchell served as Chairman of the Peace Negotiations in Northern Ireland. Under his leadership the governments of Ireland and the United Kingdom and the political parties of Northern Ireland agreed an historic accord, ending decades of conflict. In May 1998, the voters of Ireland, North and South, in a referendum, overwhelmingly endorsed the agreement.
At the request of President Clinton, Prime Minister Barak, and Chairman Arafat, he served as Chairman of an International Fact Finding Committee that examined the current crisis between Israelis and Palestinians.
Senator Mitchell is currently chairman of the board at Walt Disney. His role includes holding management accountable and participating in the development and implementation of long term strategy. He has been the company's leading independent advisor since 2002. He is also partner in the Washington law firm of Piper Rudnick.
Senator Mitchell is the author of four books. With his colleague, Senator Bill Cohen of Maine he wrote Men of Zeal, describing the Iran-Contra investigation. In 1990, Senator Mitchell wrote, World on Fire, describing the threat of the greenhouse effect and recommending steps to curb it. His next book, published in 1997, was Not For America Alone: The Triumph of Democracy and The Fall of Communism. In 1999, Senator Mitchell wrote Making Peace, an account of his experience in Northern Ireland.
Senator Mitchell serves as the Chancellor of The Queen’s University of Belfast, and as President of The Economic Club of Washington. He served as Chairman of the International Crisis Group, a non-profit organization dedicated to the prevention of crises in international affairs; as Chairman of the Special Commission investigating allegations of impropriety in the bidding process for the Olympic gamesand as Chairman of the National Health Care Commission