Emily Cain, an alumna of the University of Maine and former House representative for the state’s 30th district, spoke to students, faculty and members of the UMaine community about EMILY’s List and the “Women Who Will Win in 2018” on Monday, March 26 at Stodder Hall.
EMILY’s List, which stands for “early money is like yeast” since, as Cain said, “it makes the dough rise,” is a political action committee founded in 1985 by Ellen Malcolm and aimed toward electing pro-choice, Democratic female candidates to political office.
Cain began her presentation on behalf of the organization by telling the story of Harriett Woods, a politician who would have been the first female Democratic candidate in the United States Senate for the state of Missouri had she had the proper funding and resources, as well the stories of Anita Hill and Margaret Chase Smith. These stories of women in politics, Cain said, are what have led to what many consider a watershed moment in politics — and our culture at large — as well as the founding of EMILY’s List.
“In our history, EMILY’s list has had a huge impact. Our vision is having a government that reflects the people it serves and having decision-makers who will fight for greater opportunity and better lives for the people that they represent,” Cain said. “This is an exponential period of impact and growth for us.”
Referencing the increase in women’s political participation after the 2016 general election, Cain said, “I will tell you right now, as I stand here not too many months away from the November election, this is not a wave that we are experiencing now. This is an all out sea change. This is an entirely new direction for women in politics and the voice of women in our country. And it is the best.”
Cain represented the 30th district in the Maine Senate from 2012 to 2014 and was a member of the Maine House of Representatives for eight years. During that time, she served as Minority Leader and House Chair of the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee and was the youngest Minority Leader in the history of the Maine State Legislature.
“I started to get really involved with EMILY’s List when I was a state legislator and state house Minority Leader. And then again last year when I joined as an executive director,” Cain told the Maine Campus. “The work I do everyday is the answer to the problem you saw on the news last night.”
The event was organized by both the Rising Tide Center and the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies department, had support from both UMaine’s Communication and Journalism and Political Science departments and was part of a campus-wide event series for Women’s History Month.
“In this crazy time of wanting to have a positive impact on what’s happening in the world, [by] bringing my experience and instant credibility of having been a candidate… this is the perfect way I can do that,” Cain said about her role as executive director of EMILY’s List.
“I’ve always seen EMILY’s List as an organization that is making changes in lasting ways. And it’s great that we share a name,” Cain told the Maine Campus.