Fiona Selmi ’21

Sara Gideon for Maine, South Freeport, ME

This summer, I worked as an intern on the political and outreach team for Sara Gideon’s Campaign for the U.S. Senate—a Democratic campaign challenging long-time incumbent Republican Senator Susan Collins. Sara is currently the Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives and officially announced her Senate campaign. Since June, we have created a grassroots campaign which has launched the most viable challenge to Senator Collins in her long tenure. Sara’s experience, coupled with a growing sense of dissatisfaction with Senator Collins in Maine after her tepid support for the President, has put our campaign in a great position—currently polling five points ahead of the Republican Senator.

Since the 2016 election, I’ve been invested and committed to turning both Congress and the House blue in 2020—although I was only 17 at the time, the election of President Trump was a catalyzing moment for me as a young person interested in politics; it was dauntingly clear that we all could have done more. Actually, working on a campaign this summer was not exactly the glamorous, nation-saving that my 17-year-old self likely imagined, however the skills, connections and coalition created around the common goal of getting Sara elected has been more valuable than I could have ever imagined.

As a member of the political and outreach team, I worked to connect with voters, secure endorsements of all sizes, and planned political events allowing Sara to meet and talk with supporters. I also did a lot of research on the growing Black Lives Matter movement in Maine and helped organize socially-distanced visits to Black-owned businesses in the Portland area and “Suppers with Sara” which were opportunities for voters to sit down and have dinner with Sara (from six feet away and while wearing a mask!) and talk to her about what’s on their mind, share their concerns with her and ask her questions about what she’ll do when she (hopefully) gets to Washington, DC.

Working with the campaign I found that I really enjoy fast-paced, ever changing work environments, as well as the general landscape of American politics. I’m excited to continue my work with the campaign leading up to election day, and to see where my connections with the campaign and general interest in this world take me in the future.

I want to thank the Estate of George Mead and the ’68 Center for Career Exploration for this opportunity. Without their support I would not have been able to have the meaningful experience that I had this summer on Sara Gideon’s Campaign.