Maine: An Encyclopedia
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Cohen, William

William S. Cohen (1997)

William S. Cohen (1997)

William Sebastian “Bill” Cohen was a Republican U.S. Representative and a U.S. Senator from Maine, 1979-1997.

Born in Bangor, Penobscot County August 28, 1940; he attended the public schools; graduated, Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine in 1962 and graduated, Boston University Law School 1965. He was admitted to the Maine bar in 1965 and commenced practice in Bangor.

An instructor at University of Maine 1968-1972, he also served as assistant county attorney in Penobscot County 1968-1970, as a member of the Bangor City Council 1969-1972, and as mayor of Bangor 1971-1972. Cohen was a member, Bangor School Board 1970-1971 and is a published author.

Elected as a Republican to the Ninety-third Congress in 1972, he was reelected to the Ninety-fourth and Ninety-fifth Congresses (January 3, 1973-January 3, 1979. He was elected in 1978 to the United States Senate, defeating incumbent Democrat William D. Hathaway, was reelected in 1984 and again in 1990, serving from January 3, 1979 to January 3, 1997. He was not a candidate for reelection in 1996.

Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen (second from left) and Supreme Allied Commander Europe Gen. Wesley Clark (right)

Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen (second from left) and Supreme Allied Commander Europe Gen. Wesley Clark (right)

Cohen was chairman of the Select Committee on Indian Affairs (Ninety-seventh Congress), the Special Committee on Aging (One Hundred Fourth Congress).

In 1980 he worked with Senator George J. Mitchell to achieve authorization of the settlement of the Maine Indian land claims.

He served as Secretary of Defense in the Cabinet of President William Jefferson Clinton, 1997-2001.

[Images  from Department of Defense News Photos, http://www.defense.gov/photos/]

Additional resources

Cohen, William S. Love in Black and White: A Memoir of Race, Religion, and Romance. Lanham, Md. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. Distributed by National Book Network. c2007.

Cohen, William S. Papers, 1955-2001. (bulk 1972-2001)[University of Maine, Raymond H. Fogler Library, Special Collections]

Senator Bill Cohen: Summary of News Coverage, 1973-1996. 1997. [University of Maine, Raymond H. Fogler Library, Special Collections]

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