Kenneth M. Curtis was born in Curtis Corner (Leeds), Maine on February 8, 1931 to Harriet [Turner] and Archie Curtis. His father was the fifth generation to run the family farm at Curtis Corner. He was educated at the area schools, and graduated from Cony High School in Augusta, Maine in 1949. He attended Maine Maritime Academy, graduating in 1952. He then enlisted in the Navy, leaving in 1955 to attend law school at Portland University, known currently as the University of Maine School of Law, and was admitted to the Maine Bar in 1958. He became active in Jim Oliver’s campaigns for Congress in 1956 and 1958, becoming campaign manager in 1958, and congressional staff from 1958 to 1960. He then was appointed by President Kennedy as coordinator of the Area Redevelopment Association (ARA), charged with providing development to depressed areas. In 1964, he ran for Congress against Stan Tupper, loosing by a narrow margin. He was then appointed Secretary of State in 1965, serving until 1966 when he ran for Governor of Maine. He was elected, and served two terms. His major legislation included the income tax and environmental legislation. He served as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 1977 to 1978, and Ambassador to Canada from 1979 to 1981. At the time of interview, he practiced law in Portland, Maine.
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Nicoll, Don; O'Brien, Stuart; and Chavira, Rob, "Curtis, Kenneth oral history interview" (1998). Edmund S. Muskie Oral History Collection. 103.