John E. Baldacci was born in Bangor, Maine. While working at the family restaurant in his hometown of Bangor, he earned a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Maine in Orono. Baldacci began his political career at 23 when he was elected to the Bangor City Council. In 1982, he was elected to the Maine State Senate, where he served for twelve years. Baldacci was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1994 and reelected by wide margins in 1996, 1998, and 2000. Baldacci was elected governor in 2002 and reelected in 2006. As governor, Baldacci won approval for major initiatives including Dirigo Health, a comprehensive reform of the state’s health care system, and the Pine Tree Zone program, which provides tax incentives to encourage business growth in targeted areas of Maine.