When you meet Emily Downing, you cannot help but be impressed. She is smart and articulate. She is also a listener who pays attention to detail and then takes action. I admire that quality in anyone and Emily embodies those traits.

I got to know Emily when she became an intern on my talk show. She had previously worked on some political campaigns, but wanted the opportunity to be more engaged in the political debate. As we have a wide variety of guests on the program, she felt this would give her a chance to hear all sides when an issue was discussed.

Very quickly, it became apparent that Emily would become much more than an intern. She showed drive and initiative, something that was apparent by how she lives her life.

At the age of 22, she is a homeowner in Westbrook. She understands the impact that property taxes have on a family budget. She also works full time, a 40-hour work week, while taking 18 course credit hours as she finishes up her college education. Such a hectic schedule demonstrates her ability to manage her time and her resources, a trait necessary for effective leadership and representation as a Representative in Augusta.

Shortly after joining my talk show as an intern, she quickly learned the skill set that allowed her to become an associate producer. As this is a very public job, being able to absorb information and react to it effectively is a necessary skill and one she obviously possesses. Our entire staff was impressed by not only how quickly she acquired the skills to produce my show, but also by how effective she was at the nuance of producing a live show.

I often talk about getting our young adults involved in the political process, engaging them in the issues and seeking their ideas. These young adults will one day soon, be the new generation of leaders.

Emily may be young, but her experience is that of someone much older.

Working full time while going to school is not easy. Add to that the responsibilities that come with homeownership and you find a person who is driven to succeed and that is what Maine needs more of – young people with the focus and intellect that drives them to succeed.

Having worked with Emily in a professional capacity, I know she can go to Augusta as our state representative and serve the people of our district.

She will know the details of the bills she asked to vote on. She will listen and respond to the concerns of her constituents.

She will bring the open-minded style of leadership that is sorely needed in Augusta.

I will proudly cast my ballot for Emily Downing on Nov. 4 to represent my home District in the Maine House. I urge you to do the same and send a bright young woman to Augusta to help be a part of the solution to the issues we face.

Ray Richardson

Westbrook


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