Emerge Maine Program Trainers

Thankful for our team of trainers for this year's Signature Training!

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Ashley McCurry


Ashley graduated from the Emerge Maine program in 2011. She has worked in fundraising roles for statewide and coordinated races, most recently as Finance Director for the Maine Democratic Party. In addition to fundraising work, she’s been involved in leadership roles for various organizations in political and non-profit work, on local House races and ballot initiatives. She also served on Emerge Maine’s Development and Executive Committees. Additionally, she’s worked in consulting roles in strategic communications, fundraising, and organizational transitions. She is also a returning trainer to the Emerge Maine program. Ashley has a BA in Communications from the University of Southern Maine.


Lily Hermann 

Campaign Overview

An Emerge Class of 2019 graduate, Lily Herrmann has worked in Maine Politics for the past 5 years and is currently a Legislative Aide in the Maine Senate Majority Office. Most recently, she served as the Field Director of the Maine Senate Democratic Campaign Committee, where she oversaw all 35 Democratic Campaigns for the Maine state senate and advised candidates on fundraising, messaging, field, and expenditure strategies. This 2020 campaign secured a 22-seat majority – the largest since 1984 – flipping 2 seats, protecting 14 incumbents, & winning 6 open seats. She has also worked for the Maine Democratic Party in a variety of roles from 2017-2019 and for the Hillary for America Campaign in 2016. Lily lives in Portland with her partner and her dog where she enjoys getting outside on local trails, riding her bike, and digging into a good book.


Jenna Howard


Jenna Howard is the Communications Director for the Maine Speaker of the House. She has served as Deputy Campaign Director for the Maine House Democratic Campaign Committee, where she worked to elect Democrats in all 151 districts in Maine. During the 2018 campaign cycle, she was co-director of Swing Left Maine, her mission: to help take back the House by electing Jared Golden to Congress. For eight years prior, she ran a marketing and digital advertising agency.
Jenna graduated from the Women’s Campaign School at Yale in 2019 and the Emerge Maine bootcamp in 2018. A lifelong Mainer from Washington County, she holds a masters in Community Planning, Public Policy, and Management from the Muskie School of Public Service.
The first door she ever knocked was for marriage equality in Maine.



Chloe Maxmin


Chloe Maxmin, hailing from rural Maine, is a Maine State Senator. She founded the Climate Action Club at Lincoln Academy and co-founded Divest Harvard at Harvard College, a campaign that grew to over 70,000 people. She was elected in 2020 after unseating a two-term Republican incumbent and (former) Senate Minority Leader. In 2018, she served in the Maine House of Representatives after becoming the first Democrat to win a rural conservative district. Chloe is about a new politics for rural America. She and her campaign manager, Canyon Woodward, are writing a book for Beacon Press on their work. She is 28 years old and the youngest woman ever to serve in the Maine State Senate.


Matthea Daughtry

Social Media 

Sen. Mattie Daughtry is serving her first term in the Maine Senate. She is a former member of the Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs and has served as House chair of the Maine Commission on College Affordability and College Completion.
Sen. Daughtry co-owns and brews at Moderation Brewing Company, in Brunswick. She also runs her own local photography and video company.
She previously was the communications associate for Maine’s Majority and did legislative research for the organization. She has also worked as a curator for Brunswick-based VSA Arts of Maine, an organization serving people with disabilities through the arts. Sen. Daughtry founded and ran the news department at WOZQ 91.9 FM and also worked in the news department at WFCR 88.5 FM, an NPR station in western Massachusetts. She worked in Congressman Tom Allen’s office as an intern in college. She has extensive experience working in her local community, on a local farm, as a waitress, as a counselor at several local camps and as a contributor to the Times Record.


Shenna Bellows

Authentic Networking 

Secretary of State Shenna Bellows is Maine’s 50th Secretary of State, sworn into her first two-year term in the position on Jan. 4, 2021. Secretary Bellows is Maine’s first female Secretary of State.
Secretary Bellows previously served two terms in the Maine Senate from 2016-2020, representing 11 towns in southern Kennebec County. In the Maine Senate, she served as Senate Chair of the Labor and Housing Committee and served on the Judiciary Committee. She was a 2020 presidential elector in the Electoral College.

Secretary Bellows most recently led the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine as executive director from 2018 to 2020. Previously, she owned Bellows & Company, a non-profit consulting business, where she worked with organizations such as the Sierra Club’s Maine Chapter, Consumers for Affordable Healthcare and the Maine Women’s Lobby. She also served as interim executive director of LearningWorks. In 2014, Secretary Bellows was the Democratic nominee for United States Senate in Maine.

From 2005 to 2013, Secretary Bellows was executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine. She was a member of the first Right to Know Advisory Committee and the Maine Freedom of Information Coalition. She served on the Executive Committee of the 2009 and 2012 ballot campaigns to pass marriage equality in Maine, and co-chaired a successful 2011 statewide ballot campaign to restore same-day voter registration. She was an original member of the Committee for Ranked Choice Voting.
Secretary Bellows grew up in Hancock and is a graduate of Ellsworth High School. She holds a B.A. in International Politics and Economics from Middlebury College. She volunteered with the Peace Corps in Panama and AmeriCorps VISTA in Nashville, Tennessee.

Secretary Bellows lives with her husband, Brandon, in Manchester.


Eva Facundo


Eva Facundo serves as the Deputy Affiliate Director of Fundraising for Emerge America where she trains, works and supports Emerge America’s growing state affiliates on their fundraising goals.

Eva got her start in political fundraising as a major gifts intern for EMILY’s List in Washington D.C. while studying at American University where she graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and minor in Spanish language. Since then she has fundraised for the DSCC, Karen Bass, John Oceguera for Congress, Loretta Sanchez, Sue Savary for Congress, Lucy Flores, Mitchell Schwarrtz for Mayor of Los Angeles and finally as the Finance Director for Delaine Eastin for Governor. She is passionate about the new and creative ways of reaching fundraising goals that better fit the new political class of women and people of color. Eva was born in Dominican Republic and grew up in Miami, Florida but is now proud to call Southern California her home.


Cathy Breen


State Senator Cathy Breen is the Ranking Member on the Joint Standing Committee on Appropriations and Financial Affairs. She was elected the Maine Senate in 2014 and served her first term on the Environment and Natural Resources Committee. Cathy served on the Falmouth Town Council from 2005 – 2011, serving two terms as Chair. As Chair in 2007, Breen led the effort to pass Falmouth’s Open Space Conservation program, one of the most successful municipal conservation programs in Maine history. Cathy serves on the Board of Directors of Spurwink Services, Inc., a non-profit behavioral health provider with sites throughout Maine. She holds a B.A. from Tufts University and M.Ed. from the University of Illinois in Chicago.

Senator Cathy Breen is serving her fourth term in the Maine Senate, where she represents the people of Falmouth, Yarmouth, Cumberland, Gray, Long Island, Chebeague Island and part of Westbrook. She is the chair of the budget-writing Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee, having previously served on the Environment and Natural Resources Committee.

Senator Breen lives in Falmouth with her husband and has two adult children.


Eloise Vitelli


Eloise was first elected to the State Senate in a special election, in 2013 and was recently re-elected for her third full term representing District 23, Sagadahoc County and the town of Dresden. She was elected by her peers to serve as Assistant Majority Leader in 2018 and most recently, became Majority Leader upon the departure from that position of Senator Nate Libby of Lewiston. She has served on the Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry and Marine Resources Committees and now serves on the Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee as well as Government Oversight Committee.
Eloise retired after 38 years with New Ventures Maine, where she worked to advance the economic status of women and their families, creating programs and opportunities for entrepreneurship development. She served for many years as a member of the Maine Economic Growth Council and was President of the Board of the MidCoast Economic Development District. She currently serves on the board of the Kennebec Estuary Land Trust.
She is a long time resident of Arrowsic where she lives with her husband and her small flock of chickens. She is the mother of two grown sons, both of whom graduated from Morse High School. Eloise takes joy in being in Maine’s great outdoors – gardening, hiking in the woods, walking along the shore, or just sitting in her yard.


Margaret Brownlee 

The Power of Allyship

Margaret Brownlee (she, her, hers) is MECA’s first Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion officer. Her goal is to unveil new initiatives aimed to improve DEI on-campus using design thinking and principles of transformative change. Margaret is focused on serving the students of color coalition, students of faith club, and students of the LGBTQAI+ community.

Margaret is working on her doctorate (Ed.D) in Educational Leadership at UNE, holds a Master’s degree in education, and a Bachelor’s degree in performing arts. She is passionate about helping college students’ establish a sense of belonging in higher education by facilitating conversation about intersectionality, intercultural competence, and global fluency.

Outside of work, Margaret serves on the South Portland Human Rights Commission and spends time with her wife and 4-year old daughter Estella Rose.


Emma Burke

Ethics & Finance

Emma is a born and raised Mainer, and has been a Candidate Registrar at the Ethics Commission for over seven years, and has worked through four elections there. She graduated from the University of Southern Maine in 2012 with her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Criminology, and graduated from the University of New Hampshire with her Master’s Degree in Justice Studies in 2013. She has been the assigned registrar at the Ethics Commission for Governor Mills, Mike Michaud, and Terry Hayes, among others, and has overseen the campaign finance compliance for over a thousand legislative and county candidates. She lives in Portland with her cat, Cuddles, and her partner, David.


Gwen Doak


Gwen Doak is Chairperson of the Wilton Democratic Committee, an Executive Committee Member of the Franklin County Democratic Committee, and a Maine Democratic State Committee Member representing Franklin County.

She currently serves on the Wilton Planning Board, Wilton Finance Committee, Board of the Wilton Free Public Library, and on two short-term town committees, Broadband and Comprehensive Plan. Gwen is a member of the Wilton PTF (Parent Teacher Forum), the Wilton Day Extension, Wilton Fish & Game, and F.O.W.L. (Friends of Wilson Lake). She’s an advocate and ally for many social service non-profits and organizations committed primarily to voting, social justice, disability, environmental, and reproductive rights – and, of course, those working to get Democratic women elected!

Gwen is also the mother of a six-year-old attending G.D. Cushing School, where she volunteered before the pandemic, and her husband, John, is a Navy Veteran. She earned a B.A. from Old Dominion University, in Virginia where she grew up, and an M.F.A. from the University of Maryland, College Park, before heading north to her husband’s family & forever home in Wilton, Maine.


April Fournier


April Fournier is a member of the Dine’ Nation, of the Honaghaani clan and one of the newest members of the Portland City Council. She is a mom of 4 kiddos (2 are adults now). She has an M.Ed. with a concentration in Early Intervention and currently work at Maine Med as the Early Childhood Specialist Case Manager with pediatric families to address the most critical social determinants of health.



Deqa Dhalac


Deqa is a passionate advocate for the immigrant community with extensive experience in social services, public health, community building. Deqa is the Family Engagement and Cultural Responsiveness Specialist for Maine Department of Education. She formerly worked for The Opportunity Alliance as a community builder and The City of Portland as a Health and Human Services Councilor. Deqa holds a master’s degree in Development Policy and Practice from the University of New Hampshire and master’s in Social Work from the University of New England. She is a certified language tester and cultural skill trainer and has been providing broad mediation for clients in different settings with service providers to ensure unmet needs of immigrant communities. Deqa is originally from Somalia East Africa; she came to the United States in 1992 and has three children. She is a leader in the Somali Community Center of Maine; Deqa is a Board member for Northern Light Mercy Hospital, I am Your Neighbor Books and Emerge Maine. Deqa is the co-founder of Cross-Cultural Community Services where she and her colleagues provide cultural competency trainings to organization in Maine to better understand the challenge BIPOC communities go through. Deqa believes everyone should have the opportunity to access quality education, healthy food, safe and affordable housing and a clean environmental to thrive in no matter where they are from or what ethnicity they have.
Deqa Dhalac is a South Portland City Councilor representing district 5 and Emerge Maine Alumni.


Courtney Allen


Courtney Allen is the Policy Director for the Maine Recovery Advocacy Project,  an Augusta At-Large City Councilor, and is currently studying towards a master’s in public policy at the Muskie School of Public Service. Prior to this work, Courtney interned in Senator King’s D.C office, successfully managed two local campaigns during the 2020 election session, and operated the first recovery residences in her community. She lives in Augusta with her two sons, fiance, mother, and their cats: RJ and Lion.



Charlotte Warren


Rep. Charlotte Warren is serving her fourth term in the Maine House of Representatives. She recently began serving her 5th year as the house chair of the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee and previously served on the Judiciary Committee and as the house chair of Maine’s Mental Health Working Group.
Charlotte is a social worker and an educator. She is the owner and principal consultant for C Warren Consulting Services. She served on the Hallowell City Council for 12 years, including four as mayor. Charlotte has been serving as a Trustee for the Greater Augusta Utility District for five years and recently joined the board of directors of the Family Violence Project.
Charlotte graduated from Gardiner Area High School. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from UMF, a Master’s Degree in Education from USM, and a Master of Social Work degree from UNE.
Charlotte lives in Hallowell with her best dog friends, Tissue and Tank.


Kate Knox

Ethical Leadership

When it comes to lobbying, campaign compliance, and election law, you are hard-pressed to find someone more capable than Kate. She has lobbied in Augusta for nearly 20 years, representing a wide variety of interests from developers to corporations and public interest groups, and worked on virtually every significant ballot initiative and campaign for public office in Maine. Some of Kate’s most recent and significant efforts include heading the legal team in the battle to allow Ranked Choice Voting, and assisting EqualityMaine draft and pass legislation legalizing same-sex marriage in Maine—marking the first time in US history that such legislation passed in both the House and Senate and was signed into law.

At the statehouse, Kate is known for her strong democratic connections and relationships. Her legal training allows her to understand and translate the often-complicated work of crafting statutes to solve practical problems. In addition, Kate has served as General Counsel to the Maine Democratic Party for the past 10 years, working with and representing democratic candidates up and down the ticket – from state legislators to presidential candidates. That position translates well into lobbying as it creates authentic and organic relationships with candidates before they become legislators. Post-election, she is naturally seen as a trusted ally for those newly elected legislators as they learn the ways of Augusta.

Kate also holds a Master’s Degree in social work and worked as a family therapist for families facing severe mental illness. That experience has proven invaluable to her work – allowing her to remain calm and compassionate in challenging situations.

Outside of her work at Bernstein Shur, Kate was recently appointed by Mayor Kate Snyder to the newly created “Racial Equity Steering Committee” charged with reviewing public safety and law enforcement issues in the City of Portland.


Allison Hepler


Allison Hepler is serving her second term as the State Representative for House DIstrict 53, which includes the Towns of Arrowsic, Dresden, Georgetown, Phippsburg, part of Richmond and her own Town of Woolwich. She is also in her tenth year on the Woolwich Selectboard. She works fulltime as a historian and teacher at the University of Maine at Farmington and the author, most recently, of McCarthyism in the Suburbs: Quakers, Communists and the Children’s Librarian. She also volunteers with Maine’s First Ship, the Woolwich Historical Society, the Patten Free Library inBath, and the Bath Farmers Market. Finally, she is part owner of her husband’s wooden boat building and repair shop in Phippsburg.


Lydia Crafts


Growing up, Lydia learned that being from Maine meant she needed to be a thoughtful problem solver, a strong collaborator, and a champion for justice. She learned the importance of hard work, dedication, and commitment to community. These beliefs inform her work as a clinical social worker, her role as a mother, and her work as a state representative. She currently serves in the 130th Maine State Legislature, where she sits on the Joint Standing Committee on Marine Resources. Her legislative priorities include housing, public education, mental health services, and support for rural communities.

Sarah Nichols

Overview, Media

Sarah Nichols, Emerge Class of 2015, is a current Bangor City Councilor. She was first elected to public office in November of 2015 and was elected Chair of the Council (Mayor) in November of 2018. Sarah was the youngest Mayor in Bangor’s history. Born and raised in Bangor, Sarah studied New Media at the University of Maine and currently works for the Maine Education Association. Sarah has an extensive professional background working in Maine politics in a number of different roles on a variety of issues, including education, reproductive healthcare, labor rights, and economic security. When Sarah is not doing any of the above, she loves to spend her time cross country skiing, hiking, traveling, and baking pies.


Laura Fortman

Roles in Leadership

Commissioner Fortman is responsible for labor standards enforcement, employment and training programs, unemployment insurance, labor market information, and vocational rehabilitation services. Fortman brings more than 20 years of public policy and advocacy experience to the Department of Labor, which she also led under Governor John Baldacci from 2003 to 20011. Fortman also served as Deputy Administrator for the Wage and Hour Division at the U.S. Department of Labor from 2013 to 2017, where she was responsible for enforcing our nation’s most fundamental labor standards, including requirements for minimum wage, payment of overtime, prohibitions on child labor, the right to take leave under the Family Medical Leave Act, worker protections in immigration-related programs, such as our H-visa programs, and government contracting programs.


Maeghan Maloney

Roles in Leadership

As a child, Maeghan lived in the Tall Pines Low Income Housing Project in Lewiston, Maine until her family moved to Turner where she graduated from Leavitt High School in 1989. She received scholarships to attend Swarthmore College and Harvard Law School. After graduation, she worked as a prosecutor in Portland, Oregon starting in the trial unit until she was promoted to run the forfeiture unit. Maeghan spent a year in Asia working to stop domestic violence on a Luce Fellowship and then returned home to Maine. In Maine, she worked as an assistant attorney general before being elected to the Maine legislature. Maeghan now serves as the District Attorney for Kennebec and Somerset counties.



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