Thursday January 03, 2013 | 11:37 AM

WASHINGTON – Maine political history is being made today as Angus King officially sheds his “senator-elect” title and becomes simply Senator King.

King will be Maine’s first independent senator when when he is sworn in some time after noon as part of a class of more than 90 incoming freshmen to the 113th Congress. Republican Sen. Susan Collins, the new “senior senator from Maine,” is expected to escort King to the Senate floor for the ceremony.

The former two-term Maine governor is replacing Sen. Olympia Snowe, who ends her own historic run in Congress. Snowe, a Republican, was the first woman in history to be elected to both chambers of Congress and their state legislature, was at the time of her election in 1978 the youngest Republican ever elected to the House and was the first Republican woman to serve on the powerful Senate Finance Committee. She has won more federal elections in Maine than anyone else since World War II.

The 113th Congress brings some notable changes for Maine’s other delegation members as well.

U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-District 1, will join the House Appropriations Committee, becoming the first Mainer since former U.S. Rep. William Hathaway 40 years ago and only the second since 1899 to serve on the panel that helps decide how and where federal money is spent. Collins serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee, meaning the state is represented in both chambers.

U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, D-District 2, recently rose to the top Democratic position on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, giving him a much more prominent voice on the committee. Michaud actually assumed the ranking member position last month after the previous lead Democrat resigned his seat to take a job outside of Congress.

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Kevin Miller is Washington bureau chief for the Portland Press Herald and MaineToday Media. He has worked as a journalist in Maine for 6 ½ years, covering the environment, politics and the State House. Before arriving in Maine, he wrote about politics, government and education for newspapers in Virginia and Maryland.
Kevin can be reached at 317-6256 or kmiller@mainetoday.com

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