Cain From Maine

Emily Cain never intended to run for the Maine legislature — nor the U.S. House of Representatives, for that matter. In fact, when Cain arrived at the University of Maine in Orono for her freshman year, she had an entirely different career path in mind.

“I didn’t come from a musical family, but I learned I could sing as a little kid, in school, in the choir,” Cain said recently as she sat in a lawn chair at the Pushaw Lake camp she owns with her husband, Danny Williams. “[At UMaine] I majored in music education, [kindergarten through grade] 12. I thought I would be — I still think … you never know — that I could become a music teacher any day.”

For now, though, she’s not.

Instead, she’s a 37-year-old high-riser in the national political scene. After spending 10 years in the Maine legislature and senate, she ran for the U.S. House twice, losing in 2014 and 2016 to Bruce Poliquin.

And as of July 5, she’s the new executive director of Emily’s List, a Washington, D.C.-based political action group that since its founding in 1985 has worked to elect pro-choice Democratic women to public office at the local, state and national levels.

The step is a big one for Cain, who says Emily’s List doesn’t hire people like her — people from outside the D.C. Beltway — to lead the organization.

“I didn’t even tell anybody I applied [for the job] because I was so sure they wouldn’t give it to me,” Cain said. “They’ve never hired anybody from outside of D.C. for this job before. Ever.”

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