Our Voices

Senator Susan Collins has a message for Maine women: “Go for it.”

Collins, arguably one of the most influential women in the country right now, sat down with us in her Bangor home several weeks ago, in between voting, long sessions and committee meetings. Sen. Collins has a long and successful career in both state and federal government, and while we may agree or disagree with some or all of the votes she casts, she is a Maine woman who has made a huge impact in government. In our meeting, we found her to being charming and approachable as she spoke to us about her journey, some obstacles along the way and some solid inspiration and insight. She wants more women to “go for it, and take the risk” to run for office, telling us that, “not having a sufficient number of women makes a difference in public policy.” Collins goes on to talk about women as strong collaborators and pragmatists. You can read more in our feature on page 16.

As we go to press on this issue of Maine Women Magazine, we are reading headlines and hearing dozens of voices every day about “women rising” and women finally being heard. It is very timely for us to be publishing our first Women in Government issue, which is all about some of the Maine women who use their voices to make a difference in policy on many levels, here at home and nationally.

Maine state Sen. Amy Volk was successful in getting legislation passed a few years ago for victims of sex trafficking. Volk says sex trafficking is a modern day form of slavery and she worked hard to have impact when most people didn’t believe that sex trafficking even existed in Maine. Read more about Volk and what she is working on now on page 36.

Kathryn McInnis-Misenor does not work in state government, but she has spent her life fighting for the rights of people with disabilities. If McInnis-Misenor sees an injustice, she acts on it. At 21, she was elected to Saco City Council, and at the time was one of a few people with a disability ever elected to public office. Because Saco City Hall was not wheelchair accessible, McInnis-Misenor made it her mission to change that. And she didn’t stop there, taking her mission to the national level. Read more on page 30.

Maulian Dana, Ambassador to the Penobscot Nation, was raised by strong women and her father was Penobscot chief when she was a teenager, so advocating for her people runs through her blood. Dana uses her voice to educate, raise awareness and create change for the Penobscot people in Maine. She tells us “social change isn’t easy,” but she is more than ready and dedicated to the cause. Read more on page 26.

We don’t all choose to use our voices in a public way. Many of us stick to creating change for ourselves, perhaps in raising our children or being active in our neighborhoods or religious communities. Sometimes just pointing out an injustice or helping a friend to raise her voice can be effective. We all can make a difference and create positive change in our daily lives. When we hear a sexist, racist or discriminatory comment, we can speak up. And, if you do want to venture out a bit, we’ve got a lot of information in this issue of Maine Women Magazine on how you can make a difference by getting involved. And, as always, there’s plenty more tucked into the rest of the magazine, including great recipes, things to do and places to go. Let us know what you think, connect with us via email, phone or social media anytime.

Lee Hews

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