Congratulations to Emerge Maine's first Legislative Boot Camp Alumnae!

Congratulations to Emerge Maine's first Legislative Boot Camp Alumnae!
Emerge Maine held its first ever Boot Camp for women running for legislature in 2018. 

Legislative Boot Camp 2017 Biographies

 Kylie Bragdon - Winter Harbor

Kylie is running for House District 136! Kylie Bragdon is currently a Select Board Member in the town of Winter Harbor. This former mathematics teacher traded in her grade book for Grunden fishing boots nearly two years ago in order to pursue lobstering full time. Though the majority of her time is spent tending traps, Kylie is also in the final phases of completing her doctorate in educational leadership. In her research, Kylie has maintained a focus on how to improve Maine’s education system for individuals interested in pursuing careers in commercial fishing. Learn more about Kylie in the 1/14/18 Maine Sunday Telegram profile on women candidates here:

City Council President Kristen Cloutier - Lewiston

Kristen Cloutier is running for House District 60! Kristen Cloutier is entering her third term on the Lewiston City Council where she has served as Council President for the past two years and as the Council Representative to the School Committee for the past three. She is the Chair of the Immigrant Integration and Policy Development Working Group and serves on the Lewiston Area Public Health Committee, in addition to the boards and committees of several non-profits. She works full-time as an Assistant Director in the Harward Center for Community Partnerships at Bates College and is a class of 2015 Emerge Maine alum. Kristen lives in Ward 5 with her husband, Denny Bourgoin, their 9 year-old daughter Ridley, and their two dogs. Kristen was presented with Emerge Maine's Rising Star award in 2017!

Doretta Colburn - Waterford

Doretta Colburn is running for House District 71! Doretta Colburn’s sense of social responsibility and passion for the environment grew out of the values fostered first in her childhood home. Influenced by her parents’ love for nature, Doretta became a science teacher with a strong focus on environmental education and today, as an organic farmer and member of MOFGA. There was also a great interest in, respect and compassion for others that became a driving force in Doretta’s decision to obtain a Divinity degree from Yale that led her to serve for twenty years as a pastor. Her inspirational leadership and care attributed to the growth of every church she served. Along with her husband, a daughter and son-in- law, Doretta operates an organic farm from which her beliefs become action in building a strong community through her participation on local boards, service organizations and committees, believing that together we can and will bring positive change.

Janice “Jan” Dodge - Belfast

Jan is running for House District 97 and will be in a primary with Emerge Maine alumnae Caitlin Hills! Jan grew up in Belfast, Maine and graduated from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.  After a thirty year career in education, she returned to Belfast where she volunteers for Waldo County Triad, Aging Well In Waldo County Board, Waldo County Education Association Retired - President, Chamber of Commerce Cruise Ship Greeter and Maine Education Association Government Relations Committee Retiree Representative.  She also worked on the "Thanks But No Tank" environmental initiative, was a member of the choir and worship team at the First Baptist Church and served for six years on the Maine Education Association Retired Executive Board.  Jan loves to  cook, plaster and paint, water and X-C ski card craft and swing dance!

Laura Fortman - Nobleboro

Laura is running for Senate District 13! Laura Fortman has lived in Lincoln County with her husband, Dennis Mercer for over 30 years. She began her professional career working with survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence.  Public policy and public service are her passion. She served for a decade as Executive Director of the Maine Women's Lobby and Policy Center, where she lead an organization at the forefront of creating meaningful policy solutions in access to healthcare, freedom from violence and discrimination, and promoting economic security. She was appointed as Commissioner of Labor for the state of Maine by Governor Baldacci and served in that role for almost 8 years. Most recently she spent 3.5 years at the US Department of Labor as the Deputy Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division, the federal agency responsible for enforcing key worker protection laws including minimum wage, overtime, child labor, FMLA and migrant and seasonal farmworker protections.

Allison Hepler -Woolwich

Allison is running for House District 53! Allison Hepler, who has lived in Woolwich for over 30 years, teaches history at University of Maine at Farmington, and about to publish her second book, about a woman accused of being a Communist in the 1950s. She is also a member of the Woolwich Selectboard, having recently been re-elected to her third term. She's also active with the Woolwich Historical Society and Maine's First Ship, two local historical organizations. When not working at her friend's woodworking tool store or messing around in her husband's wooden boat shop in Phippsburg, she is running for the Maine State Legislature in 2018.

Caitlin Hills - Belfast

Caitlin is running for House District 97 and is in a primary with Emerge Maine alum Janice Dodge! Caitlin is an active member of the community as she is the Chairwoman of the local school board, a volunteer for many local organizations, and a go to driver whenever a child needs a ride to a sporting event. Her priorities include affordable housing, Medicaid expansion, and finding ways to break the cycle of poverty and addiction.  She is dedicated to listening to what the people of Belfast, Northport and Waldo have to say.

Karen Kusiak - Fairfield

Karen is running for Senate District 16! Karen Kusiak has lived in Fairfield most of her professional life. She hails from New Hampshire, reared her family in Maine, and worked as an educator in Maine public schools and as a teacher educator at various institutions of higher education in Maine. Kusiak served on the MSAD 49 Board of School Directors for 14 years and is currently on the Board of Directors of the Maine Academy of Natural Sciences (MeANS) in Hinckley - which is a part of the town of Fairfield. She represented Fairfield, Smithfield, and Rome in the 126th Legislature. Kusiak is active in community, advocacy, and professional organizations including the Waterville branch of AAUW, the Maine Unitarian Universalist State Advocacy Network (MUUSAN), the Waterville Area New Mainers Project (WANMP), and the Hope House English Language Program (HHELP) in Portland. Kusiak testifies at hearings on bills and rule making procedures that relate to teacher preparation in Maine. Recently she joined an anti-racism reading group that meets in Pittsfield and that struggles to understand what it means to be white.

Mary Ann Lynch - Cape Elizabeth

Mary Ann is running for House District 30! Mary Ann Lynch has just retired from the Maine Judicial Branch, where she served as Government and Media Counsel for the last 9 years. She was elected three times to the Cape Elizabeth Town Council, and served two terms as chairwoman. While on the Town Council she was deeply involved in two major school projects: adding a separate wing for the kindergarten, and renovating the 40 year old high school. She successfully sponsored a proposal to build a walking path along Shore Rd., and supported efforts to preserve working farms and expand the many trails in Cape Elizabeth. Prior to her Town Council Service, she worked as a lawyer in the private sector for many years, but her most important work has been raising 4 children to be wonderful adults! She is the oldest of ten children. Her parents were uneducated immigrants who worked hard to see that each child focused on their education. She moved to Maine at the age of 20, and is proud to have found the best place on the planet, Cape Elizabeth, to live and raise her family.

Victoria Morales - South Portland

Victoria is running for House District 33! Victoria is a life-long champion for youth, families, and communities.  She is a basketball and ultimate frisbee youth coach; the founder of the Maine Youth Court, a non-profit dedicated to keeping kids in school and out of prison; and an attorney with specialties in State and local government litigation, land use and transportation law, and affordable housing.   Victoria is a working mom with three children in the South Portland public schools.  She believes strongly that the greatest long-term investment we can make is in the opportunities we provide for our youth, the future leaders of tomorrow.

Heather Sanborn - Portland

Heather is running for Senate District 28! Rep. Heather Sanborn is currently serving her first term in the Maine House, representing District 43 (Portland (part) & Falmouth (part)). She lives with her husband and son in the same North Deering neighborhood of Portland where she grew up. A former public high school teacher and a lawyer, Heather now co-owns and manages Rising Tide Brewing Company in Portland. She is a candidate for the open senate seat in District 28 (Portland (part) & Westbrook (part)).

Nickie Sekera - Fryeburg

Nickie is planning her first run for office! Nickie Sekera is the assistant director of SOLO, the founding school of wilderness medicine in the United States. She came to that position after working in remote medical clinics and minority-lead education projects within the conflict zones of Eastern Burma.  Her work in that region lead to serving on the Board of Directors of the US Campaign for Burma where after 8 years, she felt increasing pressure to use her experiences and act locally. Inspired by her young son Luke's inquiry process about global inequities, Nickie felt motivated to focus on water privatization issues from her home in rural Maine. She was the cofounder of the Community Water Justice network and elected as a Trustee to the Fryeburg Water District. She has been a mentor and adviser to several youth and leadership projects and works closely with her son on leadership skills to meet the demands of the next generation.

Rep. Maureen Terry - Gorham

Maureen is running for re-election! Rep. Maureen “Mo” Terry is serving her first term in the Maine House of Representatives. She is a chef and small business owner with more than 25 years of experience in the food service industry. A former restaurant owner, Rep. Terry now operates Three Daughters Cookie Co. with her family. She is the market manager of the Greater Gorham Farmers’ Market and has volunteered for a number of community organizations, including the Gorham Cooperative Preschool, the Gorham Education Foundation and the Gorham Swim Boosters. Rep. Terry lives in Gorham with her husband and three daughters.


Put Yourself On The Ballot

Learn about the Emerge program, how to apply and get connected to our Alumnae Network.

Support Our Work

Emerge Maine needs your help to expand our training.