Here’s why these Maine women made politics a part of their lives
People come to politics for reasons that are personal and unique. Their stories of how they came to serve and the roles in which they serve speak to a diversity of paths to becoming a force for change within our communities.
Lauren Supica, 37, Bangor, City Councilor
“I work in food service. I wait tables and I tend bar, and in the city of Bangor, 6,160 people work in food service. That’s one-fifth of our population and that is definitely a voice that needs to be heard on council. We aren’t just in a job that you do to go to college then quit and move on. There’s a lot of people who choose this as a career. We are buying houses in the area, we are starting businesses in the area and we need to be heard; our voices are valid. We know that women tend to be more reluctant to run for office, and making the choice to run was a long process for me. Having a diverse group accurately representing our population is how we ensure a robust democracy. Being involved, especially on a local level, is one of the best and most rewarding ways to enact change and better your community.”
Ashley McCurry, 30, Portland, Finance Director for the Maine Democratic Party
“I was very active as a student at the University of Southern Maine. It was infuriating to me that the students weren’t getting involved. People tend to get involved when something affects them, not so much when you’re trying to warn them about what might happen. After being a student leader, I went through Emerge (a training program that seeks to increase the number of Democratic women in public office) thinking I would run for office. And nine years later I’m still here as a fundraiser. Politics is strange in that the work is run by young people. Party staffers are young people because they’re willing to work 90 hours a week, knocking on doors. I’m technically old for political staffers because I’m 30.”
“There are still so few women in politics. You can’t be what you can’t see. We are getting more leadership, it is changing a little bit, but we’re still not half represented, even though we’re half the population. Having women there starts to set the precedent that women are there, doing the work effectively, and people will stop comparing women to the men who were there before. A lot of young women aren’t seeing a gender gap when they’re right out of college, but then they get to a mid-career mark and they realize the upper level positions are dominated by men. Representation has to constantly be a priority, and it shouldn’t be on the one woman in the room (as is often the case) to carry the burden of representing all women.”
Lois Galgay Reckitt, 72, South Portland, Representative for House District 31
“My political interests began watching my parents’ arguments over the political divides in Boston in the 50s and 60s. That interest grew in the 60s while in college—and bloomed in the women’s movement in the 70s. As I struggled to advance the cause of equality and justice for women, it became clear that politics—and the men who controlled that sector—must learn to listen to women and the realities of our lives. My path to political activism was through organizing and the promise of feminism to make the world a better place. I devoted my ‘free’ time to that cause and miraculously, upon retirement, Social Security enables me to take the leap. My current service in the Maine Legislature representing part of South Portland, albeit frustrating in the current ‘climate,’ has enabled me to be heard, and I hope to move Maine forward towards economic and social justice.”
Victoria Foley, 34, Biddeford, City Councilor
“I’ve always been passionate about giving back to my community, and having a voice at the municipal government level seemed like the right place to begin. As more women become solo homeowners and community leaders, their voices also need to be part of city politics—to ensure their values are represented in those communities. I’m grateful for the opportunity to bring my own perspective and those of my constituents—both women and men—to the discussions that shape the city I live in.”
Lucinda Hannington is a transplant to Maine from Vermont. She is an avid reader, cook, eater and lover of all things historical who lives in Portland with her husband and dog.