By Elizabeth F. McNamara
According to the 1989 East Greenwich High School yearbook, during her senior year Sara Gideon was a football cheerleader, ran track, wrote poetry, and was named to the prom court.
Now, 30 years after graduating from EGHS, Gideon, a Democrat, announced Monday she is running for U.S. Senate in Maine, challenging Senator Susan Collins, a Republican. Gideon is Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives.
As an established politician, Gideon is the strongest challenger yet to the veteran Collins, according to the New York Times. Collins has represented Maine in the U.S. Senate since 1996.
Gideon got into politics 10 years ago with a run for Freeport Town Council. She won and then won a seat in the state House of Representatives in 2012. She was elected speaker in 2016.
Gideon has sponsored legislation that passed earlier this year to expand abortion access by allowing health care professionals other than medical doctors to perform the procedure. She has also worked to increase benefits for poor families. She is married and has three children.
Collins has long been considered a bipartisan senator, but recent votes, including on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, have made her a target.
Gideon has at least two contenders for the Democratic nomination for Senate; Collins has one on the Republican side. The primary is not until June 2020.
The race will be watched closely nationwide, but with perhaps through a more personal lens in East Greenwich, where many remember Gideon fondly.
“She was a delightful student: bright, intelligent, very inquisitive,” said Ray Alfano, who taught English at EGHS for 34 years.
Classmate Mary Finley Anderson, now herself a teacher in East Greenwich, was an enthusiastic Gideon supporter.
“Sara has always been a kind, intelligent person,” Anderson said. “She will always do right by her constituents. I hope she wins!”
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