AUGUSTA – Close to 100 former colleagues, friends and members of his family gathered at the State House on Saturday for the unveiling of former Gov. Angus King’s official portrait.
“Welcome to the hanging of Angus King,” said Kay Rand, who served as King’s top aide during most of his eight-year tenure as Maine’s chief executive, before introducing her old boss to warm applause.
Absent real ceremony, the occasion still marked a permanent addition to the state’s documented record – as King noted in his own brief remarks.
“When you’re in the middle of things, you don’t realize that you’re living history,” King said.
From here on, he added, the contributions to public life of participants in his two-term administration and supporters of those efforts will be formally memorialized, at least indirectly, as part of a larger heritage.
King, now 59, was first elected governor in 1994 as an independent, winning 35 percent of the vote after a largely self-financed campaign. In 1998 he easily won another term, capturing nearly 59 percent of the vote.
The new portrait, painted by family friend Stephanie Werner, contains at least a couple of details highlighting portions of King’s personal legacy.
One he mentioned is a laptop computer, recalling King’s successful drive to have the state provide such devices to junior high students.
Another the motorcycle-riding former governor referred to simply as a “Harley.”
King told the State House audience Saturday that when asked if he misses the job of governor his answer is: “I don’t really miss the job, but I miss the people.”
Earlier this month, the Portland law firm Bernstein, Shur, Sawyer and Nelson announced that King will serve as special counsel and provide legal advice to the firm’s business clients wanting to enter the state or expand their Maine operations.
Last month, King announced he had joined Leaders LLC, a Portland merger and acquisition services company, on a part-time basis.
He is also scheduled to teach a class on leadership at Bowdoin College.
King has three grown sons and two younger adopted children. He and his wife, Mary Herman, live with their younger children in Brunswick.
King went to work for Pine Tree Legal Assistance in Skowhegan in 1969 and subsequently served as an aide to then-U.S. Sen. William Hathaway from 1972 to 1975.
He returned to Maine to practice law in Brunswick in 1975 and began an 18-year stint as host of the “Maine Watch” television show on public broadcasting.
He became vice president and general counsel of an alternative energy company in 1983 before founding his own in 1989. He sold the company in January 1994.
King received a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth in 1966 and a law degree from the University of Virginia in 1969.