I ended a recent day of campaigning speaking with one of my former high school teachers. Her class in U.S. government made a lasting impression on me, even as a teenager. She taught her students how important it is to participate in government and our community. I have followed her guidance devoting time to others — so to better listen, learn and lead.

My family has lived in Belfast for nearly 100 years. We are teachers, nurses, business people and volunteers who believe in helping others. I am proud to carry on this tradition as a community banker, volunteer and state representative. Now, as a candidate for the Maine Senate, I offer a lifetime of business, banking, legislative, nonprofit and community service. My record is one of hard work and commitment. Working with others, I have:

  • Co-chaired the $5 million capital campaign to build the Waldo County YMCA, which has over 4,000 members.
  • Raised over $6 million while CEO at nonprofit MaineStream Finance during the 2009-2013 Great Recession to help families facing foreclosure keep their homes and provide start-up loans to small and micro business owners.
  • Helped thousands of entrepreneurs get loans to grow and expand during three decades as a banker and small business lender.
  • Volunteered countless hours with such organizations as Belfast Rotary, Maine Association of Nonprofits, Waldo County General Hospital, Abnaki Girl Scouts, City of Belfast committees, and more.

From 2006 to 2010, I served in the Maine House and was a member of the Appropriations & Financial Affairs Committee, an appointment few freshman legislators receive. This 13-member committee worked together to write a bipartisan budget that closed a $190-million budget shortfall during tight economic times.

Collaboration was important to me, so I helped organize a Moderate Caucus open to legislators of all parties. I also joined the Rural Caucus, providing a stronger voice for rural Maine. I submitted or co-authored legislation that has made a difference; to name just a few:

  • The “Pink License Plate” bill, which has raised over $3 million for cancer care in Maine.
  • A wellness bill to help small business owners start health and wellness programs that benefit their employees.
  • A Land for Maine’s Future bond that included special funding to preserve Maine’s commercial working waterfronts.
  • A Pine Tree Zone bill to expand economic opportunities across the state.
  • Maine’s Energy Future bill to create a stronger plan for using our energy resources.

I was present for 98 percent of roll call votes — always making sure to be prepared and ready to vote on the issues.

My constituents invited me and I was pleased to attend many local events: 100-year birthday celebrations, town meetings, grand openings and more. My constituent hours held in town halls were open to anyone needing help and support. Being an accessible, caring legislator is so important.

In this election, my desire to help others is still strong. While knocking on thousands of doors, many people have shared with me their personal stories. My notebook is full of constituent concerns that will be by my side in Augusta. Starting day one, my plan is to work on issues important to Waldo County residents:

  • More resources for small business owners and farmers — including greater access to credit and loans, internet services and business planning assistance.
  • Increased investment in early childhood education so that all preschool-age children can begin kindergarten on the same level.
  • Expanded technical training and apprenticeships that inspire our next generation of Mainers to learn and live here.
  • Improved access to affordable housing so that more families can achieve their dream of owning their forever home.
  • Enhanced focus on seniors and veterans so that they can age comfortably with access to quality health care, housing and transportation.
  • Reduced property tax burdens so Maine families can keep more of their paychecks and fixed income seniors and veterans can afford to stay in their homes.

I am humbled by the many voters who already support my campaign, and I invite the undecided to please join me. The Maine Association of Realtors has endorsed me, plus, the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, the lead advocate for Maine’s outdoor recreation and access to public lands, gave me their highest candidate rating. Many thanks to all for your belief in my work.

In the Maine Senate, my promise to voters is to listen, learn, and then, lead. My pledge is to do my very best for Waldo County and our citizens. On Nov. 6, please vote Jayne for Maine!

Jayne Crosby Giles is a candidate for the Maine Senate representing Waldo County (District 11) and a former member of Maine’s House of Representatives for Belfast, Belmont and Northport. Following a 30-year banking career, she now works with nonprofit and economic development organizations. Giles serves on the boards of Belfast Rotary, Maine Association of Nonprofits, Northeast Delta Dental and Waldo County YMCA. She is the former CEO for MaineStream Finance, a Bangor-based nonprofit community bank and the 2016 recipient of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Financial Services Champion award for New England and Maine. Giles is married and lives in Belfast.