Charles P. Pray
1985 - 1992
Charles Patrick Pray was born in Millinocket, Maine on August 15,
1945, the youngest son of Lewis and Evelyn Boynton Pray. Pray attended a one-room school from 1954-1959 in
Maine's Unorganized Territories in Northern Piscataquis; attended Maine Central Institute in Pittsfield,
graduated from Stearns High School in Millinocket in 1964; and attended Ricker College in Houlton,
In 1966, he enlisted in the Air Force during the Vietnam conflict,
serving in South East Asia in 1966-67. After four years in the military, Pray returned to pursue his education
at the University of Maine at Orono on the G.I. Bill in 1970, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science
Pray entered politics in 1974 when he was elected to the Maine
Senate representing Piscataquis and Northern Penobscot Counties, a district that held the distinction of being
the largest legislative district east of the Mississippi River (larger than several Atlantic coast and New
England states). He served as a member of the Senate until a surprise upset in his 1992 reelection
Prior to his first election as President of the Senate in 1984,
Pray served four years as the Assistant Minority Floor Leader and two years as the first Democratic Senate
Majority Leader in two decades.
He also chaired (as Vice President) the Caucus of New England
Legislatures, Chaired the Eastern Region of the National Lieutenant Governor’s Association, was a member of the
Executive Committee of the Eastern Regional Conference of the Council of State Governments, was a member of the
Maine Aspirations Compact, the Pine Tree Partnership Board, and the National Conference of State Legislatures
Committee on Labor, Commerce, and Economic Development, among other positions.
He was the first Senator representing Piscataquis County to serve
as the Senate’s presiding officer. Pray was also the first Democrat in 130 years to succeed an outgoing
Democratic President of the Senate, and the only Democrat in Maine history elected to more than three terms as
As President for eight years, Pray is, to date, the second longest
serving President of the Senate (Joseph Sewall served 56.8 legislative days longer - despite Pray having served
a full eight years while Sewall seven years eleven months when the Legislature changed its swearing in date from
January to December in 1977).
Pray was extensively involved in legislative accountability,
energy legislation, long term planning, created the Commission on Maine's Future, spearheaded legislation for
economic development, employee protection and job retraining among other issues.
After leaving the Maine Senate, Pray was appointed by President
Clinton as a Special Assistant/Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Congressional &
Intergovernmental Affairs at the United States Department of Energy in a Senior Executive Administration Service
position in Washington, D.C. Governor John Baldacci appointed Pray to the position of State Nuclear Safety
Advisor in 2003 following work he was involved with while at the Department of Energy.
Pray and his wife, the former Nancy Deschaine of Millinocket,
continue to operate a second-generation family sporting business in the unorganized territory of Northern
Piscataquis County at Ripogenus. They have two sons.