Tom Allen

Writes about sustainability and politics

Tom Allen is a leader grounded in and guided by Maine values like common sense, hard work, and loyalty. A dedicated public servant, devoted husband and father, he is deeply rooted in Maine and has demonstrated his courage and capacity for leadership throughout his life.

Tom grew up in Portland and spent summers and weekends on the family farm near North Sebago. He worked on the farm clearing brush, tending the vegetable garden and apple orchard. Tom’s love for the farm taught him the importance of protecting our environment early in life. The Allens still go to the farm regularly, where sportsmen hunt wild game, and Tom enjoys fishing and hiking.

Tom met his future wife Diana Bell in 8th grade at Lincoln Junior High in Portland. The two have been together ever since, dating for 10 years before marrying 39 years ago in 1968. At Deering High, Tom emerged as a gifted athlete, playing football and running track. His record for the half-mile relay still stands. Not only did he graduate at the top of his class, he served as class president and was elected, along with Diana, “Most Likely to Succeed”.

Tom attended Bowdoin College, where he demonstrated his capacity for courage and leadership. In 1965, he made headlines when he led the Bowdoin chapter of his fraternity out of the national association because it refused to admit African Americans. He also worked to persuade Bowdoin to admit women. Continuing his athletic pursuits, Tom quarterbacked the football team and continued to run track, serving as captain for both teams.

Through his academic success and leadership, Tom earned the Rhodes Scholarship. For two of his three years at Oxford, his studies overlapped with that of a friend, future President Bill Clinton. Upon his graduation, he attended Harvard Law and filled his summers working for Senator Ed Muskie. The Allen family returned to Maine, where Tom spent the next 19 years practicing law in Portland and with Diana, raised two daughters Gwen and Kate.

Tom’s father and grandfather instilled in him the importance of public service. Following in their footsteps, he served on Portland’s City Council in Portland from 1989 to 1995 with two of those years as the city’s Mayor. During his tenure, Portland led the state in nondiscrimination practices by banning bias based on sexual orientation for housing, credit and employment.

In 1996, Tom ran for Congress from Maine’s 1st District, defeating incumbent Republican James Longley, Jr. by 10 percentage points. In Washington, Tom has been a strong and effective leader, pioneering legislation on prescription drug issues, campaign finance reform and the environment. A member of two influential House committees – Energy & Commerce and Budget – he is a strong advocate for health care, small business, energy, fiscal responsibility and economic competitiveness.

Tom Allen has never been afraid to stand up for what is right and in the best interest of Mainers. In 2002 when most members of Congress supported the resolution authorizing war in Iraq, he courageously voted against it, standing up to President Bush and the leadership of his own party. He has been a vocal and active opponent of the war in Iraq since its ill-conceived inception and is working to end U.S. involvement in Iraq. And because President Bush’s tax cuts gave huge breaks to the wealthy few at the expense of hardworking Maine families, Tom opposed the administration tax and spend policies, and continues to work for middle class tax cuts.

Through his groundbreaking legislation to prevent price gouging of senior citizens, Tom is a nationally recognized leader on prescription drug prices. A leading advocate for clean air and reliable, affordable energy, he supports a new national energy policy that would decrease our reliance on fossil fuels and foreign oil and encourage innovation and conservation.

Tom fights for fiscal responsibility and federal budget priorities that invest in people and communities. He has voted to prevent cuts to the Medicaid program and to increase funding for education and Navy shipbuilding. He has called for “pay as you go” rules to require offsets to pay for new tax cuts or new spending.

Others have noticed that Tom’s leadership has been good for Maine. “Tom Allen has built a record in Congress that Maine can take pride in. He has represented his district and the state well and his work promises even more in the future,” wrote the Bangor Daily News. “ . . . Allen has distinguished himself in his service to Maine and set an impressive course to become a leading voice on national issues.”