Gia Drew is seeking the Democratic nomination in House District 9 and will face candidate Traci Gere in the July 14 primary. Both are Kennebunkport residents. Courtesy Photo

KENNEBUNKPORT – Gia Drew, a Kennebunkport resident and former teacher who works as program director at EqualityMaine, announced she is seeking the Democratic nod in the July 14 primary for House District 9.

The Democratic primary for the district, which includes all of Kennebunkport and parts of Biddeford and Kennebunk, will become a two-way race. Kennebunkport business owner Traci Gere announced her candidacy for the Democratic nomination earlier this year. The victor in the July 14 will face Republican Stedman Seavey, who has formerly served in the seat, in the November election.

Drew, 53, earned degrees from Syracuse University and Savannah College of Art and Design, and was a teacher and coach for 20 years before changing careers. Drew said she taught at Mt. Ararat High School in Topsham, and was an art and photography teacher at Kennebunk High School from 2002 to 2012. In a news release, Drew said she was one of Maine’s first transgender teachers and the first transgender coach in the country.

Drew said she is running because she is driven by a lifelong commitment to serve the community and the public, and to see that the house seat remains in Democratic hands.

Democratic Rep. Diane Denk, who currently services House District 9, is not seeking re-election.

“(I) specifically want to improve the broken healthcare system to ensure every Mainer, regardless of financial status and any preexisting conditions, has access to quality healthcare for their entire life,” Drew said.


Drew said she is committed to ensuring Maine’s older adults can choose to age in place, and that Maine’s assisted living communities are vibrant, accepting of all, and affordable.

She said she is concerned about the number of people who live with mental health issues, especially those from marginalized communities, said she wants to address bias and discrimination surrounding people who live with mental health issues and wants to improve the quality and quantity of mental health care across the state.

“As a former teacher and coach, “(I am) very concerned about the disparity students encounter depending on which school district they reside in, as well as the significant gap between the high number of high school graduates and the lower number of Mainers who earn post-secondary degrees,” said Drew. ” Maine ranks lowest in college graduation rate in New England.”

Drew noted many Mainers, especially younger people, leave the state for better job opportunities.

“(I am) committed to working to improve career education programs in schools, improve and target job transition education and programs for adults, and embracing new Americans and immigrant contribution to Maine’s diverse economy and workforce,” Drew said.

Drew noted her work on a number of coalitions and committees, including the Maine Department of Health and Human Services MaineCare Advisory Committee and as co-chair of the Community Advisory Committee for the Maine Health Access Foundation, which promotes access to quality health care for people underserved. Drew was recently named to Maine’s Advisory Committee for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, was previously president of the Board of Directors of Maine Transgender Network and served on the board of GLSEN Southern Maine.

She said she began thinking of running for elected office in 1976, when she met Massachusetts Gov. Mike Dukakis on a second-grade class field trip to the state house.

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: