'Art of Public Service' focus for next Wise and Strong Women Speak

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LEWISTON — The Center for Wisdom’s Women announces the next in its semi-annual Wise and Strong Women Speak series set for 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 6.

The theme will be “The Art of Public Service” with two committed public servants, Kristen Cloutier and Bettyann Sheats. They will focus not on issues, but on the act of serving communities in the public sphere. Cloutier and Sheats will share what led them to theeir work, why they continue it and how they maintain it. They will also reflect on why significantly fewer women run for public offices than men, why they believe that needs to change, and what is being done about it.

Each Wise and Strong Women program features two women in a public conversation about something they hold in common. Now in its sixth year, the semi-annual “Wise and Strong Women Speak” evenings are designed to give voice to the often unspoken stories of women. They have evolved into a community experience that inspires all who attend.

Cloutier is Lewiston City Council president, representing Ward 5, which encompasses the largest portion of downtown Lewiston. She is serving her second term on the council and is running unopposed for her third term, which will begin in January.

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During her tenure on the council, Cloutier has supported the redevelopment of Bates Mill No. 5, the development of the Hartley Block on Lisbon Street, and the rebuilding of Pierce Place. She has also been an advocate of public art and the role it can play in the economic development of Lewiston.

In 2016, she spearheaded efforts to increase awareness around pedestrian safety issues in Lewiston with Sen. Nate Libby and School Committee Chairwoman Linda Scott by hosting a Pedestrian Safety Forum and co-authoring the resulting report.

Her council appointments include representative to the Lewiston School Committee, chairwoman of the Immigrant and Refugee Integration and Policy Development Working Group and member of the Lewiston-Auburn Public Health Committee.

Cloutier is a member of the University of Southern Maine’s Lewiston-Auburn College Community Advisory Board, the Lewiston School Department’s District Proficiency-Based Learning Committee, the Green and Healthy Homes Learning Network, the Community Health Stakeholders Coalition and the Center for Wisdom’s Women’s Sophia’s House Steering Committee.

She is a member of the class of 2015 of Emerge Maine and this year was awarded its Rising Star Award for her mentorship and support of women running for elected office. She serves as a mentor for the Maine NEW Leadership Program through the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center at the University of Maine.

Cloutier has been employed by Bates College for the past 16 years, most recently as the assistant director for Center Operations at the Harward Center for Community Partnerships. She resides in Lewiston with her husband, their 8-year-old daughter and their two rescue dogs.

Sheets is serving her first term in the Maine State Legislature representing District 68. She is a 1984 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and served seven years in the U.S. Army as a helicopter pilot.

Since coming to Maine over 20 years ago, Sheats has been an active member of the Auburn community. She serves as board member of the Auburn Lewiston Airport, is a member of American Legion Post 31, Auburn, a vestry member at St Michael’s Church in Auburn and advisory committee member of St Mary’s Food Pantry in Lewiston.

Since 2004 Sheats has owned and operated the small business, Finishing Touches Shower Doors. She and her husband, George, reside in Auburn and have two children, William, who is attending UMaine and, Caroline, who is in grad school and working in New Hampshire.

No reservations are needed. Light refreshments are served during a mid-evening break and the center’s Herbal Works products will be available for sale. The center is located off Bates Street. between Pine and Ash. Parking at the site is limited, but is available on the street or a couple blocks away in the Park Street garage.

FMI: 207-513-3922, www.wisdomswomen.org

Bettyann Sheats

Kristen Cloutier

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