FRYEBURG, Maine — Fryeburg Academy college students finding out authorities acquired the chance to speak for an hour with Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), who spoke with them from Washington by way of Zoom on Wednesday morning.
King, 78, beforehand served as governor of Maine from 1995-2003. He’s now in his ninth 12 months within the U.S. Senate, and he mentioned it’s the longest tenure he’s spent in any place he’s had.
King’s press secretary, Zachary Holman, mentioned, “Angus was truly invited by Fryeburg scholar Melanie Perreault, who has an curiosity in politics and thought it will be a great studying alternative to have Sen. King discuss being a senator.”
He gave the Raiders an summary of his job, then turned the ground over to them, taking some questions.
“I simply completed a categorized briefing within the basement of the Capitol,” King instructed Ardelle Buck’s class (juniors and seniors) as he walked via a hallway to a “hideaway workplace” situated beneath the sting of the U.S. Senate Chambers, which positioned him a few 90-second stroll from the Senate ground.
“It’s a small room, concerning the dimension of an RV, so I really feel proper at dwelling,” King joked, after which spoke a few former Raider.
“I bear in mind (Harry) ‘Pinky’ True (who served as headmaster for the academy from 1979-89 and later grew to become a state consultant from 1992-2000),” King mentioned.
“A few of you might not bear in mind him, however he was a beautiful educator at Fryeburg Academy and for years and years, he was a terrific legislator. He was actually an amazing citizen of Maine.”
True (Fryeburg Academy Class of 1953) died Might 15, 2008, at age 80 after a brief battle with most cancers, in response to his obituary.
Of his routine as a senator in Washington, King instructed the scholars, “no day is like the opposite.”
He mentioned he began his morning by attending a Senate prayer breakfast that’s open solely to present and former senators.
He additionally met with officers accountable for dashing up laws adopted by a gathering in a safe location to debate the present Ukraine state of affairs.
King serves on 4 committees: Armed Companies, Intelligence, Power and Pure Assets, and Guidelines.
“Fifty to 60 % of my time is spent on international coverage,” mentioned King, who additionally chairs the strategic forces subcommittee, which he mentioned is “a flowery manner of claiming ‘nuclear weapons.’”
King has a workers of between 25-30 in Washington and 15 extra staffers within the Pine Tree State.
“You reside in probably the most lovely areas in our state,” King commented with a smile, “although you’re terrible near New Hampshire, however I assume it’s important to dwell with that drawback.”
King was requested what a standard day is like working with different senators.
“The very first thing I should say is that, opposite to what you see or hear and skim, we don’t hate one another,” he mentioned. “I’m glad you used the time period ‘working with different senators’ as a result of that’s the best way this place works. And though we’ve got partisan variations, and the events are battling each other periodically, individually, we do work collectively.”
King added “We’ve handed, I believe, seven main items of laws within the final two years, probably the most productive Congresses in ages, six of the seven have been bipartisan. We’ve had help from either side of the aisle in each homes.”
He mentioned that senators forged their first votes every week on Monday at 5 p.m. and their final votes of the week on Thursday at 1:45 p.m., after which a lot of the lawmakers head again to their dwelling states.
“One of many issues down right here is that we don’t know one another nicely sufficient,” King mentioned, including, “There’s little or no time for social interplay for relationships, for attending to know each other. And in case you don’t have relationships, it’s arduous to construct belief. And in case you don’t construct belief, it’s arduous to get issues achieved, significantly issues which are controversial or contentious.”
To attempt to bridge that hole, King hosts “rib night time” as soon as a month or each six weeks and invitations a half-dozen senators to his dwelling for dinner. He mentioned it affords them an opportunity to get to know one another higher.
He was additionally requested concerning the distinction between being a governor and a senator.
“I simply spoke to a senator this morning who’s operating for governor of Indiana, and I instructed him that (being) the governor is extra enjoyable,” King mentioned.
“The distinction is that as governor, you possibly can really feel that you just’re actually capable of do issues, you possibly can set the agenda. … You possibly can lead. Down right here, you’re considered one of a committee of 535, and it’s a lot tougher to really feel that you just’re truly doing one thing particular,” King mentioned.
He added: “Right here’s the opposite facet, although. As governor, you’re coping with state points which are vital, little question about it. However down right here, you’re coping with points on the highest degree. I get to go to an Armed Companies Committee and cross-examine the Secretary of Protection or meet both later right now or tomorrow with the Secretary of State earlier than he visits Asia in a couple of days, in order that’s fairly great things.”
King mentioned that a couple of years in the past, he went to Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the Senate Majority chief on the time. “I mentioned, ‘Mitch, we’re forming a former governors caucus, I simply thought it’s best to know.’ And he mentioned, ‘Properly, Angus, I’ll inform you, I discovered in case you have a former governor who’s now a senator, and also you ask them which job they like higher, if they are saying senator, , they’ll misinform you about different issues.’
“So the final perspective right here is that the governor is extra immediately rewarding,” King added. “However I really feel like what I’m doing now’s completely fascinating, partaking and extremely vital for me and the nation.”
King was requested about his go to to Ukraine. “It was fascinating. And it was fairly superior to satisfy (President of Ukraine) Volodymyr Zelenskyy,” he mentioned. “He’s a tremendous man. We met with him for over an hour. He’s very charismatic and dynamic.”
King added: “I raised the problem of accountability for all this assist that we’re sending them. I used to be a bit nervous about insulting him. However I made a decision, , what number of occasions I’m going to get this opportunity? And I mentioned, ‘Mr. President, you’ve acquired to grasp if there’s a scandal right here, concerning the misuse of a few of this assist, it’s going to essentially undermine our potential to help you, and it’s going to be an actual drawback.’ He understood it utterly. And in reality, his authorities is taking some actual severe motion to take care of potential corruption and people sorts of issues. So I used to be impressed,” he mentioned.
One other query: Why is King an impartial?
“It goes again to the early Nineties,” he mentioned. “I had been registered as a Democrat, however as a result of I labored for public broadcasting as a journalist, I used to be not energetic. … I used to be additionally in enterprise throughout that interval. And I used to be uncomfortable with what I felt was the Democrats’ larger orientation towards regulation and taxation. Alternatively, I wasn’t snug with Republicans’ views on issues like social points, like abortion and homosexual rights. So, I actually didn’t really feel totally snug in both place.”
King added: “I’m snug the place I’m. I don’t must have one occasion or the opposite inform me, , that is the occasion line, it’s important to do that. You can not offend this or that group as a result of they’re large contributors to the occasion. I keep away from all that.
“And admittedly, it’s one thing of a luxurious, and I’m very snug the place I’m. I’d say it was partially ideological and partially pragmatic by way of a operate of politics we had in Maine on the time, however it labored out. Right here I’m, and I believe it’s helped me to be more practical,” he mentioned.