Edmund S. Muskie Oral History Collection

Document Type

Oral History

Publication Date


Interview Number

MOH 406


James “Jim” Wilfong was born on May 8, 1947 in South Weymouth, Massachusetts. As a child, the family moved to Stowe, Maine to farm. His parents were Finley and Ida Susan (Hosmer) Wilfong. After a one-room, eight-grade school, he skipped seventh through ninth grades and went to Fryeburg Academy. He attended the University of New Hampshire for one year, studying forestry, then joined the Army. He was elected to the Maine legislature in 1974. Intermittently working for the legislature and the Atomic Ski Company at the same time, he decided to devote himself to politics and the economy. As a Maine legislator, he fought hard for environmental issues surrounding the state. He would later work on Ed Muskie’s Senate campaign and also a number of other projects related to the Democratic Party. His political career took him to Washington, D.C. working for the Clinton Administration within the State Department. He was influential in the success of numerous bi-national commissions between the United States and countries such as Russia, and worked with the World Trade Organization.

Scope and Content Note

Interview includes discussions of: early childhood memories and family background; academics; military training; ski businesses and the global economy; stories of Maine politics; campaigning in Maine in the 1970s; Bill Cohen and campaign fundraiser; environmental issues; public reaction to the Democratic Party and “clean up” laws; Senator Muskie’s temper; New Hampshire incident; Aida Alvarez and bi-national commissions; work in Russia during Kosovo; World Trade Organization in Seattle; Muskie and his final campaign; and reactions to Muskie and his “hometown”.

Use Restrictions

Copyright Bates College. This transcript is provided for individual Research Purposes Only; for all other uses, including publication, reproduction and quotation beyond fair use, permission must be obtained in writing from: The Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library, Bates College, 70 Campus Avenue, Lewiston, Maine 04240-6018.