Businesswoman Allyson Cavaretta is pretty well known in the York and Ogunquit area, where she has long been active on town boards and charities and has raised money for local causes.

But it took a room full of strangers to convince her to run for office.

She’d gotten a call from Rep. Ellie Espling, R-New Gloucester, asking her to consider it: “She said go to She Leads, if you really want to know what this is about. Spend these 48 hours and learn.”

At the political training program for Republican women, Cavaretta, 39, was convinced.

“That was the crystallizing moment for me, at She Leads. It was a room full of strangers … and I was surrounded by all the energy there. I thought, yep, this is the fit, I think this is it.”

And while her candidacy isn’t about Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, who faced each other in the 2016 presidential election, she can see why having a woman running for president was inspiring.

“It’s impressive to see women come out and run,” Cavaretta said. “And whether you voted for or against Hillary (Clinton), you saw in it the opportunity. Maybe that was a light to people to say, you know, maybe I could do it.”

“I think that whether you are a man or a woman, it can be daunting to put yourself out there,” she said. But “if you have a calling to serve your community, you should be out there.

“You should find and use your talent.”

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