PORTLAND — Eighteen Democratic women recently graduated from Emerge Maine’s sixth campaign training program. Six of those women plan to run for the Maine State legislature in 2012. They are: Sara Gideon of Freeport, Bettyann Sheats of Auburn, Gail Maynard of Woodland, Pamela Boivin of Manchester, Rachel Sukeforth of Litchfield and Dana Hernandez of Waterville. All but Hernandez will be seeking seats in the Maine House. Hernandez will run for the Senate.
Emerge Maine’s class of 2012 is comprised of 18 women who work as local leaders, business owners, parents, students, union members and professionals in communities across Maine. During the graduation ceremony, Libby Mitchell, Emerge Maine’s Woman of the Year, was the keynote speaker. The graduation marked the end of a rigorous six-month training program aimed at increasing the number of Maine women serving in state, local and county offices.
In addition to the six women seeking statewide office the class includes Heidi Brooks, Lewiston; Nicole Brown, Fairfield; Lanette Bryant, Dixfield; Danielle Chrissman, Bradley;Robin Dayton, Old Orchard Beach; Delia Gorham, Randolph; Emma Halas-O'Connor, Portland; Isobel Moiles, Orono; Ashley Williams-Phaneuf, South Portland; Amanda Pike, Westbrook; Molly Quaid, Portland and Kimberly Sampson, Auburn.
“More than two dozen of our alums have been elected to office,” says Emerge Maine executive director Katie Mae Simpson. “We currently have six alumnae in the state legislature. With six more planning to run we’re excited about helping to establish a growing female presence at every level of office. The coming election cycle is critical for Democrats and we’re confident that our program has prepared these women to run strong and effective campaigns.”
With this graduating class, Emerge Maine will have inspired, educated and prepared 106 Democratic women for public office.
Emerge Maine is one of nine programs in the nation supported by Emerge America, which is based in San Francisco, and has the support of national leaders like Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Nancy Pelosi. In 2006, Maine joined Arizona, California, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Mexico and Wisconsin in creating state run organizations that offer the Emerge training program to local women. Since then, Oregon and Kentucky have also started affiliates in their states.