Eighteen Emerge Maine alumnae announced their candidacy for the House and Senate at a press conference at the State House today. Many at the press conference had gone through Emerge Maine, like District Attorney Meghan Mahoney.
“Emerge Maine seeks to literally change the face of Maine politics by inspiring and preparing more Democratic women to run for office and win,” said Executive Director Jill Barkley. “With eleven of our alumnae serving in the Maine State House, we’ve been very successful at winning legislative races, but only 29 percent of those currently serving in the legislature overall are women. We know that 29 percent is not enough, which is why we are thrilled to announce our first round of candidates today who will help increase that percentage.”
Emerge Maine is the state’s premier political training program for Democratic women. It recruits, trains and supports women across the state to run for office each year. The 155 alumnae in the Emerge Maine network span the entire state, with over 30 currently holding elected office at every level, including eleven alumnae who serve in the Maine House.
Speakers at the press conference included Assistant House Majority Leader Sara Gideon, an Emerge Maine alumnae, who is running for re-election.
“Emerge has played a vital role in preparing me and hundreds of female candidates and lawmakers to be a strong voice for people in our state. Together we have worked to change the conversation about women's issues and the role of women in office,” said Gideon.
Emerge Maine candidates also recognize the role Maine’s economy will play in this year’s campaigns. Tina Riley, candidate for House District 74, owned and operated Moelco Electric in Jay, and worked as an electrician at Rumford Paper Company. Riley spoke about supporting good-paying jobs and controlling property tax levels for people in her district.
“The people in my community are concerned about the downturn in the paper industry,” said Riley. “They want a representative in Augusta who will work hard to protect those jobs and keep their property taxes under control, and that is what I am prepared to do.”
Gideon and Riley were joined at the podium by alumnae Lois Reckitt, running for the House in District 31, and Moira O’Neil, running for the Senate in District 7.
Barkley also noted that Emerge Maine would have the organization’s first primary in House District 94. Running for the open seat are Kathleen Meil and Betsy Saltonstall, both of Rockport and currently participating in Emerge Maine’s Class of 2016.
“Primaries within our network means that we are achieving our goal of training and inspiring more women to run,” said Barkley.
List of Candidates:
Representative Heidi Brooks, House District 61
Representative Christine Burstein, House District 96
Representative Mattie Daughtry, House District 49
Jessica Fay, House District 66
Representative Sara Gideon, House District 48
Kimberly Hammill, House District 102
Representative Denise Harlow, House District 36
Representative Erin Herbig, House District 97
Representative Jay McCreight, House District 51
Kathleen Meil, House District 94
Moira O’Neill, Senate District 7
Lois Reckitt, House District 2
Kimberly Richards, House District 2
Christina Riley, House District 74
Representative Diane Ruseell, Senate District 27
Betsy Saltonstall, House District 94
Representative Denise Tepler, House District 54
Representative Charlotte Warren, House District 84