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County women participate in women’s march

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — When Presque Isle resident Kari Wells-Puckett learned that a one-year anniversary event celebrating last year’s Women’s March would be held in Augusta, part of a nationwide series of marches Jan. 20 and 21, she knew the opportunity was too good for her and her daughter Sabine Wells-Puckett, 9, to pass up.

Sabine Wells-Puckett, nine, holds up a poster that says, “Voting Is Your Superpower” as she stands outside the Maine State House in Augusta during the Women’s March on Saturday, Jan. 20. She and her mother Kari Wells-Puckett traveled from Presque Isle to attend the march and show their support for women’s equality. (Courtesy of Kari Wells-Puckett)

On Saturday, Jan. 20, Kari and Sabine Wells-Puckett marched alongside nearly 2,000 people of all ages around Capital Park in Augusta to support progress in women’s issues such as reproductive rights, equal pay, affordable healthcare and access to leadership roles in government.

The name of this year’s march was “Women’s March 2.0: Power to the Polls” and many of the speakers focused on encouraging women to run for public office. In Maine, other Women’s Marches were held in Bangor, Portland, Bar Harbor and Gouldsboro.

“I personally would like to see more parity in public office because I think a lot of decisions about women’s issues are made by people who don’t completely understand,” Kari Wells-Puckett said. “More women have realized now that we can’t afford to be silent.”

Speakers included Sara Gideon, Maine Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Emily Cain, former state lawmaker and current head of Emily’s List, a national organization that supports pro-choice, Democratic female candidates. She was also moved by the speech of a woman who called herself “S” because she is one of the Dreamers who could face deportation as a result of Congress’s decision over the DACA program.

“I knew that the march would be a great opportunity for Sabine to see many positive role models,” Kari Wells-Puckett said. “It’s amazing to be surrounded by thousands of people who are ready to fight for equality and know that we’re not alone in our beliefs.”

Meredith Stewart, also a resident of Presque Isle, attended the Augusta march with her cousin, Taylor Williams of Presque Isle, and friends Regan Nelson, also of Presque Isle, and Katie Raffier of Florida. She said that although women have made many strides toward equality, 2018 will mark another year when they’ll need to continue advocating for themselves.

“We live in a world where it’s easy to get out and participant in events like the marches whether it’s with a local group or online platform, so it’s important that we be around people who support us and let our voices be heard,” Stewart said.

Stewart said she is especially passionate about the organization Planned Parenthood, which provides reproductive health services to women across the country. She noted that she would definitely attend similar marches in future years.

“The people at the march had lots of love and passion and I left there feeling empowered and hopeful,” Stewart said.

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