FREDERICK G. PAYNE, the sixtieth governor of Maine, was born in Lewiston, Maine on July 24, 1904. His education was attained in the public schools of his native state, and at the Boston Bentley School of Accounting and Finance, where he graduated in 1925. He established a career as a financial manager for the Augusta Theatre Company and for the Maine and New Hampshire Theaters Company. Payne entered politics in 1935, serving as the mayor of Augusta, a position he held until 1941. He also served as the Finance and Budget Director Commissioner from 1941 to 1942. During World War II, he served as captain of the U.S. Air Force, and attained the rank of lieutenant colonel by the time he was discharged in 1945. After his military service, Payne returned to his political career. In 1940, he was unsuccessful in his first gubernatorial bid. However, eight years later he won the Republican gubernatorial nomination, and then went on to win the general election by a popular vote. He was reelected to a second term in 1950. During his tenure, a two percent sales tax was sanctioned, the Maine Development Commission was expanded, executive power was increased over state agencies, the bonded deficit was erased, and a surplus in the state treasury was secured. Also, a controversy erupted, charging the governor with accepting money in a liquor deal. However, after testifying before a special investigating committee, Payne was cleared of all charges. Upon his election to the U.S. Senate, Payne resigned from the governor’s office on December 24, 1952. After serving in his senatorial seat from 1953 to 1959, Payne retired from political life. Governor Frederick G. Payne passed away on July 15, 1978, and was buried at the German Lutheran Cemetery in Waldoboro, Maine.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 2, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.