kids encyclopedia robot

Angus King facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Angus King
Angus King, official portrait, 113th Congress.jpg
Official portrait, 2013
United States Senator
from Maine
Assumed office
January 3, 2013
Serving with Susan Collins
Preceded by Olympia Snowe
72nd Governor of Maine
In office
January 5, 1995 – January 8, 2003
Preceded by John R. McKernan Jr.
Succeeded by John Baldacci
Personal details
Angus Stanley King Jr.

(1944-03-31) March 31, 1944 (age 79)
Alexandria, Virginia, U.S.
Political party Independent (1993–present)
Other political
Democratic (before 1993)
Edith C. Hazard
(div. 1982)
Mary Herman
(m. 1984)
Children 5
Education Dartmouth College (BA)
University of Virginia (JD)

Angus Stanley King Jr. (born March 31, 1944) is an American lawyer and politician serving as the junior United States senator from Maine since 2013. A political independent since 1993, he previously served as the 72nd governor of Maine from 1995 to 2003.

King won Maine's 2012 Senate election to replace the retiring Republican Olympia Snowe and took office on January 3, 2013. He was reelected to a second term in 2018, following the state's inaugural instant-runoff voting elections. For committee assignment purposes, he caucuses with the Democratic Party. He is one of two independents currently serving in the Senate, the other being Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who also caucuses with the Democrats.

Early life, education, and early career

King was born in Alexandria, Virginia, the son of Ellen Archer (née Ticer) and Angus Stanley King, a lawyer. His father was a U.S. magistrate for the Eastern District of Virginia.

He attended Dartmouth College, earning his B.A. in 1966. While a student at Dartmouth, King joined the Delta Upsilon social fraternity. He then attended the University of Virginia School of Law, graduating in 1969.

Soon after graduating from law school, King entered private law practice in Brunswick, Maine. He was a staff attorney for Pine Tree Legal Assistance in Skowhegan.

In 1972, he served as chief counsel to the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Alcoholism and Narcotics. King served as a legislative assistant to Democratic U.S. Senator William Hathaway in the 1970s. He was also well-known statewide as a host on public television.

In 1973, when he was 29, King was diagnosed with an aggressive form of malignant melanoma. King has said he believes he survived cancer only because he had health insurance, and has highlighted this experience when explaining his support for the Affordable Care Act.

In 1975, King returned to Maine to practice with Smith, Loyd and King in Brunswick. In 1983 he was appointed vice president of Swift River/Hafslund Company, which developed alternative energy (hydroelectric and biomass) projects in New England.

In 1989, King founded Northeast Energy Management, Inc., a company that developed and operated electrical energy conservation projects. In 1994 he sold the company. As of 2012 King's investments were valued at between $4.8 million and $22.5 million.

Governor of Maine



In May 1993, King announced he would run for governor of Maine as an independent. Incumbent Governor John McKernan, a Republican, was term-limited and could not seek another term. King abandoned his lifelong affiliation with the Maine Democratic Party. "The Democratic Party as an institution has become too much the party that is looking for something from government," King explained to the Bangor Daily News a few weeks after he announced his candidacy.

The Republican nominee was Susan Collins, Commissioner of Professional and Financial Regulation under Governor John McKernan and a protégée of U.S. Senator William Cohen, and at the time relatively unknown to the electorate. The Democratic nominee was former Governor and U.S. Representative Joseph E. Brennan. It was Brennan's fifth campaign for governor.

The general election was a highly competitive four-way race between King, Collins, Brennan, and Green Party nominee Jonathan Carter. King invested early in television advertising during Maine's unusually early June primary, allowing him to emerge from the primary season on an equal footing with his rivals. He positioned himself as a businessman and a pragmatic environmentalist focused on job creation and education. The Washington Times described King as an idealist who "wants to slash regulations but preserve the environment; hold the line on taxes; impose work and education requirements on welfare recipients; experiment with public school choice and cut at least $60 million from the state budget." His opponents criticized him for flip-flopping. Collins argued King "presents different images, depending on who he is talking to. Angus has been a Democrat his whole life. In my opinion, he became an independent because he didn't think he could beat Joe Brennan in a primary. He's extremely smooth, articulate and bright, but he says different things to different groups."

King narrowly won the November 8 election with 35% of the vote to Brennan's 34%, a margin of just 7,878 votes. Collins received 23% of the vote and Carter 6%. King won eight counties, Collins five and Brennan three. King's election as an independent was not unprecedented in Maine politics, as independent James B. Longley had been elected 20 years earlier.


King won reelection to a second term in 1998 with 59% of the vote, defeating Republican Jim Longley Jr. (the son of the former governor) (19%) and Democrat Thomas Connolly (12%). King's 59% was the highest share of the vote a gubernatorial candidate had received since Brennan's 1982 reelection with 62%. Brennan's 1982 victory was also the last time until 1998 that a gubernatorial candidate had won a majority of the vote, and King's 1998 reelection was the last time a Maine gubernatorial candidate received the majority of the votes cast until 2018.


Russians presents their social project to Maine governor Angus King
King meets with a Russian delegation as Maine governor in October 2002.

During his tenure, King was the only governor in the United States unaffiliated with any political party. He was also one of only two governors nationwide not affiliated with either of the two major parties, the other being Jesse Ventura of Minnesota, who was elected in 1998 as a member of the Reform Party. The term of Connecticut's independent governor Lowell Weicker ended when King's began. In his book Independent Nation (2004), political analyst John Avlon describes all three governors as radical centrist thinkers.

In 2002 King launched the Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI) to provide laptops for every public middle-school student in the state, the first initiative of its kind in the nation. It met with considerable resistance due to its cost but was enacted by the Maine Legislature. On September 5, 2002, the state began the program with a four-year $37.2-million contract with Apple Inc. to equip all 7th- and 8th-grade students and teachers in the state with laptops.

As governor, King signed legislation requiring that all school employees be fingerprinted and undergo background checks.

Post-gubernatorial career (2003–2013)

The day after he left office in 2003, King, his wife, Mary Herman, and their two children, who were 12 and 9 at the time, embarked on a road trip in a 40-foot motor home to see America. Over the next six months, the family traveled 15,000 miles and visited 33 states before returning home in June 2003.

During his post-gubernatorial residency in Maine, he lectured at Bowdoin College in Brunswick and Bates College in Lewiston. He was appointed a visiting lecturer at Bowdoin in 2004 and an endowed lecturer at Bates in 2009, teaching courses in American politics and political leadership at both institutions.

In 2007 King and Rob Gardiner, formerly of the Maine Public Broadcasting Network, formed Independence Wind, a wind energy company. In August 2009 Independence Wind along with joint venture partner Wagner Forest Management won Maine DEP approval for construction of a proposed $120-million, 22-turbine, utility-scale wind power project along a prominent mountain ridge in Roxbury, Maine. To avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest, King sold his share of the company after entering the 2012 U.S. Senate election. Of the project, King has said, "People who say wind is only an intermittent resource are looking for a one-shot solution. And my experience is that there are rarely silver bullets, but there is often silver buckshot. Wind is an adjunct source of energy. Ten percent, 20% can be very significant".

U.S. Senate



On March 5, 2012, King announced that he was running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Olympia Snowe. King said "hogwash" to allegations by some Republicans that he had cut a deal with Democrats to keep U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree out of the race.

King's Senate campaign came under scrutiny for posting a heavily edited newspaper profile of him on its website.

On November 6, 2012, King won the Senate race with 53% of the vote, beating Democrat Cynthia Dill and Republican Charlie Summers. The following week, King announced that he would caucus with Senate Democrats, explaining not only that it made more sense to affiliate with the party that had a clear majority, but that he would have been largely excluded from the committee process had he not caucused with a party. King said he had not ruled out caucusing with the Republicans if they took control of the Senate in 2014 United States Senate elections, but when Republicans did win the majority that year, he remained in the Democratic caucus. King remained in the Democratic caucus after the 2016, 2018, and the 2020 elections, the first two of which also resulted in Republican Senate majorities and the last of which produced a 50–50 tie.


On November 6, 2018, King was reelected, defeating Republican Eric Brakey and Democrat Zak Ringelstein.


113th Congress (2013–2015)
U.S. Coast Guard Adm. Robert J. Papp Jr., right, commandant of the Coast Guard, and Vice Adm. John P. Currier, left, vice commandant of the Coast Guard, pose for a photograph with Sen. Angus S. King Jr 130423-G-OY189-019
King with Coast Guard officials in Washington, 2013.

King supported reform of the Senate filibuster, noting that senators are no longer required to stand on the floor and speak during a filibuster. He also pointed out that the Constitution contains no 60-vote requirement to conduct business in the Senate. Accordingly, in 2013 King voted in favor of the so-called nuclear option to eliminate the filibuster for most presidential nominees.

King opposed attempts by the U.S. House to cut $40 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program over ten years, fearing that it "would affect people in a serious way" and drive more people to soup kitchens and food banks. He supported the more modest Senate efforts to save $4 billion over the same period by closing loopholes.

In 2014 King was chosen for the annual tradition of reading George Washington's Farewell Address to the Senate.

Hagel, Dempsey testify before Senate 140916-D-KC128-667
Martin Dempsey (right), speaks with King (left) at Senate Armed Services Committee meeting in 2014.

King endorsed his colleague Susan Collins for reelection in the 2014 U.S. Senate election, calling her a "model Senator". At the same time, he endorsed Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire for reelection. King also endorsed Eliot Cutler for governor in the 2014 election, as he had in 2010, but on October 29, 2014, he switched his endorsement to Democratic nominee Mike Michaud. He also endorsed Democrat Emily Cain for the Maine's second congressional district election and Republican Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee in his reelection campaign.

After Republicans gained the Senate majority in the 2014 election, King announced that he would continue to caucus with the Democrats. He cited his belief that it is good for a state to have a senator from each party, and that it is important to have a senator who caucuses with the same party as the President, saying, "In the end, who I caucus with is less important than who I work with." He added, "It does not mean I have become a Democrat. It does not mean I have made a promise to anybody."

116th Congress (2019–2021)

In 2020, President Donald Trump said King was "worse than any Democrat" after King had a "testy" exchange with Vice President Mike Pence in a phone call in which King had criticized the executive branch's response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. King stated he had "never been so mad about a phone call in my entire life," after the phone call with Pence. He also called the President and Vice President's response to the pandemic "a dereliction of duty."

117th Congress (2021–present)

King was participating in the certification of the 2021 United States Electoral College vote count when Trump supporters stormed the United States Capitol. When they breached the Capitol, King and other senators were moved to a safe location. He called the event a "violent insurrection" and "unspeakably sad", and blamed Trump. In the wake of the attack, King announced that he supports invoking the Twenty-fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution to remove Trump from office.

Committee assignments



Caucus memberships

  • Afterschool Caucuses

Legislation sponsored

The following is an incomplete list of legislation that King has sponsored:

  • Affordable College Textbook Act (S. 1864; 115th Congress)

Electoral history

1994 Maine gubernatorial election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Independent Angus King 180,829 35.37% N/A
Democratic Joseph Brennan 172,951 33.83% -12.87%
Republican Susan Collins 117,990 23.08% -23.62%
Green Jonathan Carter 32,695 6.39% N/A
Write-In Ed Finks 6,576 1.29% N/A
Write-ins 267 0.05% N/A
Turnout 511,308 ~55%
Independent gain from Republican Swing
1998 Maine gubernatorial election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Independent Angus King (Incumbent) 246,772 58.61% +23.25%
Republican James B. Longley, Jr. 79,716 18.93% −4.14%
Democratic Thomas J. Connolly 50,506 12.00% −21.83%
Green Pat LaMarche 28,722 6.82% +0.43%
Constitution William P. Clarke, Jr. 15,293 3.63% N/A
Turnout 421,009
Independent hold Swing
2012 United States Senate election in Maine
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Independent Angus King 370,580 52.89% N/A
Republican Charlie Summers 215,399 30.75% −43.26%
Democratic Cynthia Dill 92,900 13.26% −7.33%
Independent Steve Woods 10,289 1.47% N/A
Independent Danny Dalton 5,807 0.83% N/A
Libertarian Andrew Ian Dodge 5,624 0.80% N/A
Turnout 700,599
Independent gain from Republican
2018 United States Senate election in Maine
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Independent Angus King (incumbent) 344,575 54.31% +1.42%
Republican Eric Brakey 223,502 35.23% +4.48%
Democratic Zak Ringelstein 66,268 10.45% −2.81%
Turnout 634,345
Independent hold

Personal life

King's first wife was Edie Birney. She is the mother of King's three older sons. King and Birney divorced in 1982.

In 1984, King married Mary Herman, his current wife. King has five children and six grandchildren.

King is an Episcopalian. He rides a Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

As of 2018 King's net worth, according to, was more than $9.4 million.

Honors and awards


Location Date School Degree
 New Hampshire 1966 Dartmouth College Bachelor of Arts (BA)
 Virginia 1969 University of Virginia School of Law Juris Doctor (JD)
Location Date School Position
 Maine 2004–present Bowdoin College Distinguished Lecturer
 Massachusetts Fall 2004 – present Institute of Politics at Harvard University Fellow

Honorary degrees

Honorary degrees
Location Date School Degree Gave Commencement Address
 Maine 2007 Bowdoin College Doctor of Laws (LL.D)
 Maine 8 May 2016 Husson University Doctor of Science (D.Sc.) Yes
 Maine 12 May 2018 University of Maine at Presque Isle Doctor of Humane Letters (DHL) Yes

Memberships and fellowships

Location Date Organisation Position
 Maine 1969–present Maine State Bar Association Member

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Angus King para niños

kids search engine
Angus King Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.