Dec. 1, 1994: President Bill Clinton appoints Maine’s retiring U.S. Sen. George Mitchell to be his special adviser on economic initiatives in Ireland.

Mitchell, 60, served in the Senate for 15 years and was the Senate majority leader for the last six of those years. His new appointment is preparation for a much more demanding task – joining the Northern Ireland peace negotiations in 1995 as U.S. special envoy for Northern Ireland, also under Clinton’s watch.

As chairman of all-party peace negotiations, Mitchell guides the participants to an ultimately successful conclusion – the 1998 Belfast Peace Agreement, also known as the Good Friday Agreement because that is the day on which the deal is struck. He receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Mitchell later is appointed U.S. special envoy for the Middle East under President Barack Obama. He serves in that post from 2009 to 2011.

Joseph Owen is an author, retired newspaper editor and board member of the Kennebec Historical Society. Owen’s book, “This Day in Maine,” can be ordered at To get a signed copy use promo code signedbyjoe at checkout. Joe can be contacted at: [email protected]

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