New blood

"New blood" Continued...

Issue: "Divided we stand," Dec. 1, 2012

Another cancer survivor is former Maine Gov. Angus King, 68, who was elected governor as an independent in 1994. He won his second term by a 40-point margin in a three-way race. King, a graduate of Dartmouth and the University of Virginia School of Law, hasn’t said which party he will caucus with in Washington. But the former Democrat supported Obama for president—and Democrats in Congress did not campaign for King’s Democratic opponent. 

King overcame melanoma at age 29, hosted a popular Maine public television program for nearly two decades, and sold an alternative energy company for $20 million in 1994. A wind energy company King formed in 2007 received a $102 million Energy Department loan from the same federal program that financed the bankrupt solar company Solyndra. King, who as governor once celebrated the signing of an environmental law by jumping into a river fully clothed, sold off his share of the wind company in March.

One new senator who did not shy away from his support of Obama during the campaign was former Democratic Party Chairman Tim Kaine. Growing up in Kansas, Kaine helped his father at his metalworking shop. But Kaine settled in Virginia after graduating from Harvard Law School in 1983. A civil rights lawyer who has never lost an election, Kaine, 54, has climbed the political ladder: Richmond city council, Richmond mayor, and lieutenant governor before being elected Virginia’s governor in 2005. Kaine, who took a break from law school to serve at a Jesuit mission in Honduras, attends a predominantly black inner-city Catholic church in Richmond. He sang in the choir there for 14 years. But Kaine criticized a new Virginia law imposing hospital building standards on abortion clinics and has said he would not limit the Roe v. Wade decision that forced states to legalize abortion.

Edward Lee Pitts
Edward Lee Pitts

Lee teaches journalism at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, and is the associate dean of the World Journalism Institute.


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