Janet Trafton Mills was born on December 30, 1947 to Katharine and S. Peter Mills II. Her mother was a schoolteacher, and her father served as a U.S. Attorney, appointed by Margaret Chase Smith. Mills graduated from Farmington High School in 1965, and went on to Colby College. She left Colby, and pursued the remainder of her undergraduate education in San Francisco and at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. She also spent time studying at the Sorbonne. She worked in Washington as a legal secretary before enrolling at the University of Maine School of Law in 1973. She graduated in 1976, and went to work in the Maine attorney general’s office. In 1980, Governor Joe Brennan appointed Mills to fill the District Attorney of Androscoggin, Franklin, and Oxford Counties in Maine until 1994, when she sought the Democratic nomination to the United States Congress. She has been active in Democratic politics, and at the time of interview, practiced law with her brother Peter in Skowhegan, Maine.
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Nicoll, Don, "Mills, Janet oral history interview" (1999). Edmund S. Muskie Oral History Collection. 267.