Kaitlin LaCasse, 28
Field director, OneMaine
Kaitlin LaCasse has always been interested in politics. So when she and her soon-to-be husband moved back to Maine in 2009 from Boston, where she’d worked in marketing and communications for the past two years, she started researching gubernatorial candidates.
“I was instantly impressed with Eliot Cutler,” she says of the independent candidate whose sprint to the finish line came up just short in the race to replace Gov. John Baldacci last year.
Apparently, the feeling was mutual. LaCasse became the Cutler campaign’s field director, doing much of the day-to-day media outreach and grassroots development. After Cutler lost the election, the independent candidate and his “camp” decided to seize the opportunity they saw to mobilize moderate Mainers into a political force for future change. Once again, LaCasse was tapped to be the field director of the organization they formed, OneMaine, which is in the midst of developing coalitions around the state.
“I wear a lot of hats,” says LaCasse. “My favorite part of the job is meeting, talking and working with people who are doing remarkable things.”
LaCasse grew up in Scarborough and now lives with her husband Ryan in Raymond. She graduated from Scarborough High School in 2001, and went to Colgate University, where she was a political science major. She also worked as a Teach for America corps member, teaching social studies to seventh-graders in Texas before coming back East.
LaCasse honed her skills as a communications and social media specialist with Upromise Investments and then with Idealware Communications, where she oversaw the company’s research on social media strategies for nonprofits.
LaCasse says being a woman, and a young one at that, has not been an impediment to her rapid ascent, particularly since she moved back to Maine.
“There are a lot of amazing women doing fantastic things around the state,” she says. “I’ve never felt that being a woman hindered anything I’ve ever tried to do.”
According to its website, OneMaine “provides a rallying point for people who think for themselves, who believe that our politics need to be more effective and less partisan, and who care less about parties and more about common interests and shared purpose. We are not a political party, but rather a big tent in which Mainers of all stripes – Democrats, Republicans, Greens and unenrolled, independent voters – can collaborate, share ideas and move Maine forward.”
LaCasse’s role with OneMaine is a key one. She has been traveling all over the state this fall spreading OneMaine’s message through launch events, media outreach, and the overseeing of social media efforts. Convinced that Mainers have a strong tendency to support the person and not the party, the organization expects to form a political action committee that will be tapping moderate candidates throughout the state to support in future elections.
“We had 70 people at our first event in Bangor. Many of them made a point of saying they hadn’t been a part of Eliot’s campaign,” she says. “We’re all serious in wanting to put Maine forward, ahead of politics.”
– Joanne Lannin