|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Maine's 1st district
January 3, 2009
|Member of the Maine Senate|
from the 12th district
21st district (1992-1994)
December 2, 1992 - December 6, 2000
|Linda Curtis Brawn|
Rochelle Marie Johnson
April 2, 1955
Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
(m. 2011; div. 2016)
|Children||3, including Hannah|
|Education||College of the Atlantic (BS)|
|Awards||Maine Women's Hall of Fame (2001)|
Chellie Marie Pingree ( SHELL-ee PING-gree; née Johnson; born April 2, 1955) is an American politician serving as the U.S. Representative for Maine's 1st congressional district since 2009. A member of the Democratic Party, her district includes most of the southern part of the state, including Portland and Augusta.
Pingree was a member of the Maine Senate from 1992 to 2000, serving as majority leader for her last four years. She was an unsuccessful candidate for the United States Senate in 2002, losing to incumbent Republican Susan Collins. From 2003 until 2006, she was president and CEO of Common Cause. She is the first Democratic woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Maine.
Pingree was born Rochelle Marie Johnson, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the daughter of Harry and Dorothy Johnson. She moved to Maine as a teenager and had her first name legally changed to Chellie. She attended the University of Southern Maine and graduated from College of the Atlantic with a degree in Human Ecology. Since graduating from College of the Atlantic, she has resided in North Haven, a small island community off the coast of Rockland.
Pingree held various farming and care-taking jobs until 1981, when she started North Island Yarn, a cottage industry of hand knitters with a retail store on North Haven. Her business expanded and became North Island Designs, employing as many as ten workers. They began marketing knitting kits and pattern books nationwide through 1,200 retail stores and 100,000 mail-order catalogues. Through North Island Designs, Pingree authored and produced five knitting books between 1986 and 1992. Eisenhower Fellowships selected Chellie Pingree as a USA Eisenhower Fellow in 1997.
As the leader of Common Cause, Pingree strengthened the organization's programs in media reform and elections, while maintaining programs in ethics and money in politics. Among the specific issues she championed at Common Cause are Net Neutrality; Mandatory Voter-Verified Paper Ballots; Public Financing of Congressional Elections; National Popular Vote (a work-around of the Electoral College), and an Independent Ethics Commission for Congress. She stepped down from Common Cause in February 2007 to return to her home state and run for Congress in 2008.
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Pingree was first elected in 1992. She was outspoken against going to war against Iraq, although counseled by party insiders to avoid that subject. She won re-election in 1994 and 1996. In 2000, she was unable to seek re-election due to term limits.
During her tenure as a state legislator, Pingree gained nationwide headlines when she authored the nation's first bill regulating prescription drug prices, Maine Rx. Pingree also shepherded Maine's largest land-bill initiative, Land for Maine's Future.
On August 15, 2007, EMILY's List endorsed Pingree's campaign for Congress in Maine's 1st district. In December 2007 she received the endorsement of 21st Century Democrats. She was endorsed by a number of labor organizations and many individuals and state officials, including Congressman Rush D. Holt, Jr.; Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky; Maine Senate Majority Leader Libby Mitchell; former Maine Senate Assistant Majority Leader Anne Rand; State Representative Paulette Beaudoin; progressive writer and activist Jim Hightower; the United Auto Workers; Planned Parenthood, and the League of Conservation Voters.
Pingree was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives on November 4, 2008. She was sworn in to Congress on January 6, 2009.
In 2010, she ran for reelection, and won, defeating Republican challenger Dean Scontras by a 57-43 margin. She overcame strong anti-Democrat and anti-incumbent political sentiment to become just one of eight Democrats in the House of Representatives to receive a higher percentage of the vote than in 2008.
On February 29, 2012, an Associated Press story mentioned that Pingree was starting to circulate petitions to run for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by the retirement of Olympia Snowe, which she confirmed on The Rachel Maddow Show later that night. She withdrew her name from the race on March 7 and ran for re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives.
In 2016, Pingree defeated Republican challenger Mark Holbrook by around 16 points.
In late 2017, Pingree's name was mentioned as a potential Democratic candidate for governor of Maine, to succeed term-limited incumbent Paul Lepage. In mid-December, she announced plans to run for re-election to the House. Pingree again faced Holbrook in the 2018 general election. The race was not considered competitive, and she defeated Holbrook by around 26 points.
Pingree was re-elected in 2020.
Soon after her election, she joined the Congressional Progressive Caucus, of which she is now vice-chairwoman. In September 2010, a video surfaced on the internet showing Pingree at Portland International Jetport disembarking from a private jet owned by her then-fiancé, hedge fund manager S. Donald Sussman. This drew criticism due to past statements made by Pingree critical of legislators using private aircraft. Pingree declined to respond. The House Ethics Committee, in a bipartisan letter, stated the travel was permissible under House ethics rules.
Pingree announced on April 26, 2013, that she would not run for Governor of Maine in the 2014 election. She stated that she was "happy" to serve in the House, and that the possibility of a three-way race also factored in to her decision.
On May 23, 2013, Pingree introduced in the United States House of Representatives the York River Wild and Scenic River Study Act of 2013 (H.R. 2197; 113th Congress). If passed, the bill would require the National Park Service (NPS) to study a segment of the York River in the state of Maine for potential addition to the Wild and Scenic Rivers System. The study would be to determine how the proposed designation would affect current recreational and commercial activities. The study would cost approximately $500,000.
On her campaign website, Pingree lists as key elements of her economic strategy supporting small business in Maine, holding banks and credit cards accountable for consumer protection, increasing Maine manufacturing jobs and preventing the overseas outsourcing of these jobs. Pingree's goals additionally include working towards health care reform, increasing women's rights and equality in the workplace, acquiring more sources of clean energy, and ending the war in Afghanistan.
Pingree consistently receives high approval ratings from labor, pro-choice, and environmental interest groups. In 2010, Pingree received a rating of 100% from the AFL-CIO, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and the League of Conservation Voters.
Pingree typically receives moderate to low approval ratings from socially and economically conservative groups such as the American Family Association and Citizens Against Government Waste, who in 2009 gave Pingree ratings of 0% and 1% respectively. In 2010 the American political magazine National Journal gave Pingree a Composite Conservative rating of 9%, and a Composite Liberal rating of 92%.
Pingree is opposed to granting the President fast track authority in negotiating trade agreements, having voted against doing so on June 12, 2015. Pingree stated that such agreements needed more transparency and debate, not less.
Pingree helped draft the Fair Elections Now Act, a proposal to provide public 'Fair Elections' funding for popular candidates who raised a sufficient number of small local contributions. Pingree has spoken out against the 2011 Supreme Court ruling McComish v. Bennett which limited public financing systems for congressional candidate campaigns. Representative Pingree favors a campaign finance system that provides increased opportunities for candidates who lack the benefits of private interest and independent expenditure committee funding.
Pingree has consistently voted against resolutions promoting aggressive foreign policy. Pingree voted "yea" in March 2011 on a resolution to remove forces from Afghanistan. In June 2011, Pingree voted "yea" on House Resolution 292, preventing President Barack Obama from deploying ground forces in Libya.
In 2017 Pingree did not attend the inauguration of Donald Trump and instead visited a Planned Parenthood center and a business owned by immigrants. She attended the Women's March on Washington the following day and stood on stage with other politicians who had also refused to attend the inauguration. "We need to do everything we can to let the incoming administration know we are not happy about their agenda. I've had unprecedented numbers of my constituents calling me worried about healthcare, the environment, public education, and they feel disrespected," she said. In July 2019, Pingree joined 95 Democrats voting for a Trump impeachment resolution. Maine representative Jared Golden and 136 other Democrats joined with their Republican colleagues to kill the resolution.
In July 2019, Pingree voted against H. Res. 246 - 116th Congress, a House Resolution introduced by Congressman Brad Schneider (D-IL) opposing efforts to boycott the State of Israel and the Global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement targeting Israel. The resolution passed 398-17.
On December 18, 2019, Pingree voted to impeach President Donald J. Trump from office. 
|Chellie Pingree||Democratic||205,629||54.90%||Charlie Summers||Republican||168,930||45.10%|
|2010 ||Democratic||169,114||56.82%||Dean Scontras||Republican||128,501||43.17%||Other||Other||42||0.01%|
|2012 ||Democratic||236,363||64.79%||Jonathan Courtney||Republican||128,440||35.21%|
|2014 ||Democratic||186,309||60.3%||Isaac Misiuk||Republican||94,847||30.7%||Richard Murphy||Other||27,669||9.0%|
|2016 ||Democratic||227,546||57.9%||Mark Holbrook||Republican||164,569||42.1%||James Bouchard||Libertarian||14,551||3.6%|
|2018 ||Democratic||198,853||58.8%||Mark Holbrook||Republican||109,714||32.4%||Martin Grohman||Independent||29,569||8.7%|
|Republican||Susan Collins (incumbent)||299,266||58.4|
Pingree has three children; the oldest, Hannah Pingree, is the ex-Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives. On June 18, 2011, Pingree married S. Donald Sussman, a hedge fund manager, in a private ceremony at the couple's home in North Haven, Maine.
Until June 1, 2015, Sussman owned a 75% stake in MaineToday Media, the owners of the Portland Press Herald, Kennebec Journal, and Morning Sentinel, in addition to sitting on the board of directors. Articles in those papers that discussed Pingree carried a disclaimer noting her marriage to Sussman.
Sussman completed the sale of his stake in MaineToday Media on June 1.
Pingree released a statement on September 8, 2015, announcing her separation and beginning of divorce proceedings from Sussman. She called it an "amicable and truly mutual decision". The two divorced in the summer of 2016.
Pingree is a co-owner, along with her daughter Hannah, of the Nebo Lodge Inn & Restaurant on Maine's North Haven Island.
|Party political offices|
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maine's 1st congressional district
|U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
| United States Representatives by seniority