Our Board


Pamela Cox (Bath)

Pamela is a senior international finance, trade, economic development and policy leader with over 30 years’ experience in the World Bank Group. During her three decades there, she held senior operating roles in East and South Asia, Latin America and Africa, where she managed multi-billion dollar portfolios and engaged with client governments at the highest levels. Pamela has deep expertise in management, project finance, including developing innovative financing and risk management instruments and implementing high profile infrastructure investments, as well as in public sector policy formation and government relations. She is also an independent trustee and audit committee member for Baillie Gifford Overseas Ltd. US mutual funds. Pamela earned an MA and PhD from the Fletcher School, Tufts University, where she studied development economics and received a Shell Fellowship to fund her dissertation research on energy issues in Senegal. She is a graduate of Reed College, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in international studies and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Her languages include French, Spanish and Portuguese. Pamela serves on the board of the Maine Center for Economic Policy and chairs the Bath Backpack Program.


Vice President

Susana Hancock (Freeport)

Susana is a linguist and anthropologist focusing on geopolitics of climate change in the Arctic and Middle East. She holds three degrees from the University of Oxford, most recently earning her DPhil/PhD last year. She is the recipient of many national and international fellowships and honors. She is a former international elite rower and has coached both at the University of Oxford and now with Waynflete School in Portland. Susana is a coordinator for Democracy Maine’s Outreach and Education and leads the Speakers’ Bureau. This includes designing various educational curricula, which she has presented throughout Maine, and now around the world (thank you, Zoom!). She is multilingual and has delivered material in five languages. Susana has numerous and varied talents ranging from winning an international award as an amateur astrophysicist, performing as a concert cellist, and performing as a sleight of hand magician. She is on the International Council and leadership for the Association for Polar Early Career Scientists, is an expert reviewer for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and an Arctic consultant for the UN’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission. Additionally, she serves on a variety of local, state and international climate, policy and academic boards.



Melissa Hanley Murphy (Scarborough)

Melissa has been a member of LWVME since the 1980s when she moved to Maine after marrying a South Portland native, whom she met at the University of Michigan Law School. Melissa practiced law at Perkins Thompson, a Portland law firm, for nearly 40 years, advising for-profit and nonprofit real estate owners, developers and lenders in governance and operational and transactional matters before retiring at the end of 2021. Her involvement with the League waxed and waned with the demands of her legal career and child-rearing, but she is a past Board member of the Portland Area League of Women Voters and the LWVME Education Fund, which she assisted in forming. Melissa has been an active volunteer in Scarborough as a past member of the Scarborough Housing Alliance and the Open Space Committee and as the incorporator and a founding Board member of the Scarborough Education Foundation and Scarborough Baseball Boosters. She currently serves on the Board of The Park Danforth, a longtime Portland non-profit organization providing housing and services to older adults, and Goodwill Northern New England, a nonprofit social enterprise that helps people achieve their life and work goals.  Melissa is passionate about community engagement, including protecting voting rights and encouraging voter participation. One of her favorite LWVME activities is registering new voters at naturalization ceremonies and in schools.



Ann Luther (Trenton)

Ann currently serves as Treasurer of the League of Women Voters of Maine and MCCE. She served as President of LWVME from 2003 to 2007 and as co-president from 2007-2009. In her work for the League, Ann has worked for greater public understanding of public policy issues and for the League’s priority issues in Clean Elections & Campaign Finance Reform, Voting Rights, Ethics in Government, Ranked Choice Voting, and Repeal of Term Limits. Representing LWVME at Maine Citizens for Clean Elections, she served that coalition as co-president from 2006 to 2011. She is active in the LWV-Downeast and hosts their monthly radio show, “The Democracy Forum”, on WERU FM Community Radio. She was the 2013 recipient of the Baldwin Award from the ACLU of Maine for her work on voting rights and elections and is the namesake and 2017 inaugural recipient of the LWVME’s Ann L. Luther Volunteerism Award. She joined the League in 1998 when she retired as Senior Vice President at SEI Investments. Ann was a founder of the MDI Restorative Justice Program, 1999 - 2000, and served on its Executive Board.


Other Members

Maya Eichorn (York)

Maya is a student at York County Community College. She uses the pronouns she/her or they/them. Since earning her High School Equivalency Diploma, Maya has worked as an intern with the League and a fellow with Maine Students Vote. She now serves on the DEI committee at her college and as a member of the College Cabinet. She enjoys making art—a relaxing getaway from political activities. She hopes to one day become a journalist. For now, she is excited to bring a youth's perspective to the Board.

Benjamin Gaines (Brunswick) 

Ben Gaines is an attorney based in Cumberland County with a practice focused primarily on elder law, nonprofit organizations, and election/political law. Before coming to Maine and beginning his legal practice, he spent over a decade working on political campaigns all over the country, from the Deep South to the Pacific Northwest. Preparedness and dedication are qualities Ben has cultivated throughout his career passionately holding his family and political beliefs close to his pursuits. With roots in local advocacy and leadership, he is committed to serving his community by working and volunteering with activist groups, including sitting on the Board of Directors for Maine League of Women Voters, Maine Citizens for Clean Elections, and Fair Election Portland.

Rick Lyles (Ellsworth)

Rick is an emeritus professor at Michigan State University (MSU) and has lived in Ellsworth for several years. His formal training is in civil engineering, urban/regional planning, applied statistics, and transportation planning. In addition to academic positions at MSU, he was the Deputy Planning Director of Pittsburgh’s redevelopment authority, taught in urban affairs at Cleveland State University, and was a researcher at the University of Maine. He is active in local government and related activities: vice chair of the Ellsworth Planning Board and the Ellsworth Housing Authority; and a member of the city’s Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee and Local Roads Committee. He is also a volunteer driver for a social service non-profit and was a major contributor to the initial citizen-led Ellsworth Green Plan. He views municipal planning and local government engagement as grass-roots exercises in democracy. A fairly new member of LWV Maine-Downeast, he has engaged in candidate events, contributed to the Democracy Forum, read/reviewed several LWV reports, and participated in Advocacy Day in Augusta among other activities.

Adikhadar Shire (Lewiston)

Abdikhadar grew up in Dadaab Refugee Camp in Kenya from the age of six months until he was 19 years old. On his 19th birthday, Abdikhadar graduated from high school in the refugee camp, emerging top student which earned him a scholarship spot to study at the University of Ottawa in Canada, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Social Sciences. In 2020 Abdikhadar founded AK Health and Social Services, a nonprofit organization that serves immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers, BIPOC and other disadvantaged and marginalized communities in Maine. Growing the nonprofit to 13 members earned him a recognition from Mainebiz 40 under 40 in 2020 and subsequently his work was recognized by the Mayor and the city of Lewiston. Abdikhadar is a father of two children, a four-year-old son and three-year-old daughter, and is expecting a second daughter in June of 2023. Abdikahdar is currently pursuing a master’s in Business Administration from the University of Maine in Orono. 

Alison Smith (Portland)

Alison has been a League member since the 1980s, and it was through the LWVME that she first got involved in Clean Elections. She was one of 1,100 Mainers who volunteered to collect signatures in 1995 to put the question on the ballot and has worked on Clean Elections in either a volunteer or professional capacity ever since. Today she serves on the League’s Program Committee and Money in Politics and Advocacy teams. She values not just the League’s policy and voter service work, but its important role in civic engagement and leadership development. The League provided Alison with a civic education and the opportunity to make a difference, and she is committed to strengthening our organization so that all Mainers can find and fulfill their roles as active citizens. Democracy works best when we all participate!

Alex Newell Taylor (Southwest Harbor)

A lifelong summer resident, Alex made the permanent move to Maine in 2019. After a career in education and non-profit management, Alex turned her attention to the political landscape after the election of 2016. She was a founding member of Women’s March Florida, and served as the Vice President of the state Executive Board. In 2018, Alex was the Deputy Director of Voter Engagement for the Second Chances Florida/Amendment 4 campaign, which successfully passed with 64.5% approval. Amendment 4 restored voting rights to 1.4 million people with previous felony convictions- the largest increase in US voting access since the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Currently, Alex works as a community organizer for National Nurses United, with a focus on healthcare justice. Until recently, she was the Executive Director of Summer Festival of the Arts, an arts education nonprofit serving Mount Desert Island. She also served on the board of Maine Healthcare Action. Alex is a graduate of the New Leaders Council and a magna cum laude graduate of Emory University. She lives in Southwest Harbor with her two kids, husband, and dog.

Jill M. Ward (Portland)

Jill is the immediate past President of the LWVME and MCCE, serving in that role from 2015-2023.  She has been a League board member since 2009 and has been involved with MCCE since 2008. She is the Director of the Maine Center for Youth Policy and Law and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Maine School of Law.  In February, 2023, she was appointed to serve as a senior policy advisor to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.  Here in Maine, she co-chaired a statewide task force on juvenile justice reform from 2019-2020 and was appointed by the Governor in 2020 to the Maine Juvenile Justice Advisory Group where she serves as vice chair. Educated at the University of Pennsylvania and Georgetown University Law Center, Jill has always had a strong interest in civic life, public service, and advocacy. She returned to her home state of Maine in 2007 after more than 15 years’ experience in the public sector, including senior policy positions with Girl Scouts of the USA, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, and the Children’s Defense Fund in Washington, DC. Jill also worked in the U.S. Senate for Senators Paul S. Sarbanes (MD) and George J. Mitchell (ME). When not working or volunteering, Jill can be found on a soccer field, at a ballpark, or in a hockey rink watching her boys, Michael and Nicholas.

Tobin C. Williamson (Lewiston)

Tobin is the Advocacy Manager for the Maine Immigrants’ Rights Coalition. In this position, he works with government officials and community partners around Maine in advancing MIRC’s policy priorities in DC, Augusta, and city halls throughout the state. His advocacy work also includes promoting the organization through both traditional media and social media. Previously, Williamson served in two U.S. Congressional Offices and two Consulates General (Japan’s in Seattle and the Czech Republic’s in Chicago). Williamson earned a Master’s Degree in Political Science from the University of North Carolina. Outside of MIRC, he recently concluded his year in the Aspen Institute Strategy Group’s Rising Leaders Program and is now part of the Leadership Portland Class of 2023. Williamson enjoys exploring all the Pine Tree State has to offer. He lives in Lewiston with his partner Kate, their cat, and their horse. In his spare time, you can find him somewhere on a hiking trail, reading a couple of books, watching soccer, trying new coffee shops, or planning his next international trips.


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