AUGUSTA — An organization that recruits and trains Democratic women to run for public office has named Shenna Bellows its woman of the year.

Bellows is the former executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine who challenged Republican Sen. Susan Collins last year.

Emerge Maine will honor Bellows at a reception in June.

The group says Bellows is the first alumna from any of 14 Emerge programs across the country to run for U.S. Senate. Emerge Maine Executive Director Jill Barkley says the group is proud of the race Bellows ran and her commitment to progressive values.

The group will also honor Assistant House Democratic Leader Sara Gideon as a “rising star.” Gideon is from Freeport and is serving her second term in the Maine House.

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