John Elias Baldacci (born January 30, 1955) is an American politician who served as the 73rd Governor of the U.S. state of Maine from 2003 until 2011. A Democrat, he also served as a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003.
Born in Bangor, Maine, Baldacci grew up with seven siblings in a Lebanese-Italian family. As a child, he worked in the family business, Momma Baldacci's restaurant in Bangor. A graduate of Bangor High School, he received a B.S. degree in history from the University of Maine at Orono.
Baldacci was first elected to public office in 1978 at the age of 23, when he served on the Bangor City Council. He continued in politics, winning election to the Maine Senate in 1982. Baldacci served as a State Senator for 12 years.
U.S. House of Representatives
In 1994, following the retirement of his cousin, United States Senator George J. Mitchell, Baldacci won election to the U.S. House of Representatives from Maine's Second District, replacing Olympia Snowe, who had moved on to Mitchell's open Senate seat. He was reelected to Congress in the elections of 1996, 1998, and 2000, serving on the House Agriculture Committee and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
Governor of Mayne
A Democrat, Baldacci was first elected in the 2002 Maine gubernatorial election with 47% of the vote, defeating Republican candidate Peter Cianchette, who garnered 41% of the vote, Green Party nominee Jonathan Carter, who won 9%, and Independent John Michael, who won 2%. Baldacci was sworn in as Maine's Governor on January 8, 2003. In 2006, Baldacci won re-election from a field of four major candidates. As Governor, he is a member of the National Governors Association and the Democratic Governors Association. On the second term Governor Baldacci was inaugurated on January 3, 2007 in Augusta. During his inaugural speech, Baldacci reaffirmed his controversial goal to combine Maine's 152 school districts into only 26. Word has emerged that Governor Baldacci had a private meeting with Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg in the midst of Verizon's significantly challenged sale of its Maine (and two other states) landlines to Fairpoint Communications. Details about the meeting have been sketchy. The deal has been termed the most significant for Maine's PUC in decades. In the 2008 Democratic Presidential primary Baldacci, as a superdelegate, pledged his support for Hillary Clinton despite Barack Obama winning the state's Democratic Presidential Primary. By June 2008, it was clear that Obama would be the nominee and he announced his support for Obama. On May 6, 2009, Governor Baldacci signed legislation legalizing same-sex marriage in the state of Maine. This made him the first Governor ever in the U.S. to sign a same-sex marriage bill into law where it was not previously court ordered. The Governor of Connecticut, Mary Jodi Rell, had been the first to sign a bill codifying same-sex marriage into law on April 23, 2009. Governor Baldacci's current term will end in January 2011.
Baldacci is a Roman Catholic. He lives with his wife Karen and son Jack in the Blaine House in Augusta. Baldacci is a first cousin once removed of former Maine senator and majority leader George J. Mitchell and a second cousin of author David Baldacci. In addition, he is also related to State Representative Chris Greeley, who like Baldacci and Mitchell, is half-Lebanese. His wife Karen is the head of Maine Reads, a nonprofit umbrella organization for Read With ME, privately funded by Verizon. He holds a technician class amateur radio license with call sign KB1NXP.