AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The Maine Legislature stopped debating today to honor former U.S. Senator George Mitchell.
Senator Mitchell was in Augusta for the unveiling of his portrait. The painting, which was paid for by private donations, will hang in the Statehouse Hall of Flags, along with those of former Senators Ed Muskie and Margaret Chase Smith.
Mitchell also spoke to a joint session of the Maine House and Senate, telling them he has "lived the American Dream", rising from a working class home in Waterville to become majority leader of the U.S. Senate, and then lead peace talks in the middle east and Northern Ireland. He told legislators they need to be able to work together, despite party differences, to solve problems. Mitchell said, "Once in office you have to govern. And to be effective that inevitably requires some compromise with the other side. That's much more likely if there is at least some level of mutual respect."
Mitchell also praised the work of the Mitchell Institute scholarship program, which by the end of this year will have helped 2,300 Maine students attend college. He says it is creating a new generation of leaders.