Rochelle “Chellie” Pingree was born on April 2, 1955 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She attended the University of Southern Maine in 1973 and went on to earn a B.A. from the College of the Atlantic three years later. She subsequently worked as a farmer (1977-80), founder/owner of the North Island Designs Company (1981-93), and a photographer/producer (1986-92). Moreover, from 1980-94 Pingree worked for both the North Haven (Maine) Tax Assessors and the North Haven Planning Board. She also served on the local school board and was the editor of the North Haven News.
After eight years (1992-2000) as a member of the Maine State Senate, Pingree made an unsuccessful run for a U.S. Senate seat in 2002. From 2003-07 she was the president/chief executive officer of Common Cause. In 2006 she founded an inn/restaurant called the Nebo Lodge, which she still owns, in North Haven, Maine. And since 2008 she has represented Maine’s 1st Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives, where she is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
For an overview of Pingree’s voting record on a range of key issues, click here.
Pingree has long opposed Voter ID laws, on the premise that they not only discriminate against nonwhite minorities, but that they are also unnecessary. In 2006, for instance, she said that elections have many problems, “but people pretending to be someone else [i.e., voter fraud] is not one of them.”
July 2015 Pingree supported the nuclear deal that the Obama administration negotiated with Iran—an agreement allowing the Islamist regime in Tehran to enrich uranium, build advanced centrifuges, purchase ballistic missiles, fund terrorism, and have a near-zero breakout time to a nuclear bomb approximately a decade down the road. “The best way to stop Iran’s nuclear weapons program is through a comprehensive, international agreement like this one,” said Pingree.
In January 2017, Pingree was one of the many Democrats who boycotted President Donald Trump’s inauguration.
In November 2018, Pingree was one of 98 Democrats who signed a letter to President Trump in which they called it “cruel and unscientific” to define a person’s legal sex by their biology. The letter was drafted in response to the Trump administration’s announcement that, going forward, the sex of people involved in sex-discrimination legal battles would be based on whether their bodies had male or female parts.
Further Reading: “Chellie Pingree” (Ballotpedia.org, Votesmart.org, WSJ.com); “House Vote Shows Congress Is out of Touch with Pressing Election Problems” (CommonCause.org, 1-30-2014); “Pingree Statement on Deal to Limit Iranian Nuclear Program” (7-14-2015); “Here Are the Democrats Who Are Boycotting Trump’s Inauguration” (Breitbart.com, 1-17-2017); “Democrats: ‘Cruel and Unscientific’ to Define Legal Sex by Biology” (Breitbart.com, 11-11-2018).