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How I Got Here


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Family and Community

North Haven has been my home for more than 30 years. I've raised my three children--Hannah, Cecily, and Asa--here. I've worked at many jobs and started several businesses here, including running a small farm. I created jobs for local people when I owned and managed North Island Yarns and North Island Designs. My current business is Nebo Lodge, an inn and restaurant in North Haven, which I own and run with several businesses partners.


I have been actively engaged in three decades of work for change. This has ranged from serving the 350
year-round residents of my island home on the North Haven school board to leading more than 300,000 members and supporters across the nation as the president and CEO of Common Cause. Though the size of my constituency has changed over the years, my commitment and my values have remained firm: Work hard, speak the truth, find common sense solutions to complex problems--and work for justice every day.
My work in the Maine state senate

In 1992, I was elected to the Maine State Senate, representing Knox County. I loved my work in the state senate, and served for eight years (the maximum allowed under term limits), the last four years as senate majority leader. I am proud of my wonderful daughter Hannah who was elected to the state legislature in 2002--as a "Clean Elections" candidate. Today she serves as the majority leader of the House and is great at her job!

In the legislature, I stood firm for social and economic justice, and never backed down from taking on powerful adversaries--most notably the pharmaceutical lobby. In my last term, I sponsored one of the nation's first prescription drug pricing bills, "Maine Rx." I also sponsored the successful "Parents as Scholars" program, a national model for welfare reform, and I led efforts to protect Maine's environment. We were leaders in corporate accountability and protecting workers. I stood up and fought for equal pay and protecting a woman's right to choose. Always mindful of Maine's need for economic development, I was chair of the Economic Growth Council and was proud of the work we did during the years I was there.

International work

My work at the state level led to the opportunity to work on an international level, which was fascinating. I traveled to Hungary as an Eisenhower Exchange Fellow, served as a member of the White House delegation to observe elections in Bosnia, and was a member of a U.S. delegation to Northern Ireland, working with women political leaders there.
Across the country

I mounted a strong, but ultimately unsuccessful, 2002 bid for the U.S. Senate seat held by incumbent Susan Collins. I was proud then, and am proud now, to be an early opponent of the war in Iraq even when it was unpopular to oppose the war. After that campaign, I was chosen as the national President and CEO of Common Cause, a nonpartisan citizen activist group. From 2003 through the spring of 2007, under my leadership Common Cause diversified its agenda to include fighting media concentration and consolidation, promoting net neutrality (freedom of access to the Internet), and election reform--while continuing to pursue its traditional goals of campaign finance reform and oversight of government ethics and accountability. These were goals that many of us in Maine had worked on.
Bringing Maine Values and Common Sense to Washington

As I traveled around the country for Common Cause, I frequently spoke about Maine's efforts--our Clean Elections law, our law requiring a paper trail for voter ballots, our independent Ethics Commission, as well as other ways Maine advocates have worked to solve problems fairly and creatively. Yes, I missed Maine, and yes, it's the place I know best. But the primary reason I recounted stories about Maine is because we are leaders here. We have taken our values and brought about changes that can be a model for the country.

When Rep. Tom Allen decided to run for the U.S. Senate, leaving the First District seat open, I knew it was the right time and place for me to match my statewide and national experience with my love for Maine. I intend to be a strong voice of opposition against the ways the Bush-Cheney-Rove White House and Republican Party have led our country down the wrong path. And, I intend to help lead the efforts to end the war in Iraq, develop affordable health care, and create a sustainable environment.

You can count on me to fight for change and accountability for the people. I will visit all 125 towns and cities in the First District over the next few months, listening and talking to voters. I'll also be actively campaigning online, including a virtual town meeting to include all of you. I look forward to talking with you and your neighbors about your concerns and how, together, we can work toward positive change in Congress.

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