Janet Mills

Photo by Michael D. Wilson

Janet Mills, Governor of Maine

By Paul Koenig

Governor Janet Mills has faced some criticism for the pandemic restrictions her administration implemented over the past year and a half, but numbers don’t lie. Despite having one of the oldest populations in the nation, Maine has been among the states with the lowest rates of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths per capita throughout the pandemic. By late August, when 80 percent of its eligible population had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, Maine was tied for the third best state in the nation in the percentage of fully vaccinated residents. “We’ve suffered losses—as a state, as individual communities and families,” Mills says. “But we have conquered them because we are a strong people, born of the western foothills, the northern potato fields, the bold, rocky coasts, and the tall pine and spruce forests. We are lifted up by the courage, conviction, and resilience that come from loving a place and its people.” At the start of the pandemic, with the global economy beginning to crash and fear of traveling threatening to cripple the state’s tourism season, Mills spoke with Eric Rosengren, president of the Boston Federal Reserve, about how to stabilize Maine’s economy. His advice was straight-forward, Mills says: you cannot have a healthy economy without healthy people. Getting the virus under control became the state’s guiding principle. “None of us wished for this pandemic, but that is not for us to decide, what fate hands us,” Mills says. “All that we can, and all that we must, do is decide what to do with the time that is given to us. Our state, like the rest of the nation, was dealt a bad hand by this pandemic. But we are pushing through and getting to the other side, becoming undoubtedly the safest state in the nation.”

Share The Inspiration