On Tuesday, the three women met with Gov. Janet Mills, who earlier this year became Maine’s first female governor after a career in public office, for an informal lunch at Bagel Central in downtown Bangor.
Bangor City Councilor Okafor, Bangor School Committee member Hassanien and Jean-Jacques, who represents Hampden on the Regional School Unit 22 board, discussed local workforce shortages with the governor and the challenges of running for local office as women of color and working mothers. They also asked Mills for advice on navigating their new roles as elected public officials.
They invited a reporter to listen in.
“Politics isn’t all about a particular issue or piece of legislation or bill or budget,” Mills said. “It’s about the relationships you’re building. Keep finding common ground with people. That’s what is important.”
Okafor brought a unique perspective to the discussion about a local shortage of workers.