Born and raised in Bryant Pond, Maine, a rural part of the state nestled among the White Mountains, Maine State Rep. Diane Russell now represents the people of Portland in the Maine House of Representatives.

After graduating college, she helped lead a citizen’s initiative to address the issue of student debt. The Opportunity Maine Program now provides a dollar for dollar tax credit against the student loan payments of people who graduate college in Maine and then live and work in the state.

When she first ran for office, she was working as a cashier at the local mom and pop Italian deli, Colucci’s, on the top of Munjoy Hill in Portland. Whether it’s working to address Maine’s heating crisis, advocating for student debt issues, working to raise awareness of broadband access for rural states or fighting for a more pragmatic approach to marijuana consumption or fighting for voting rights, Russell says her working class roots keep her focused on the pocketbook issues of real people.

Biographies are provided to us by the speakers and are only edited for clarity.