Born in New York City, McCormick is the daughter of Scottish immigrants who lived in the city for generations until her mother moved the family to Iowa when McCormick was 7.

She’s a University of Iowa graduate who also completed a four-year apprenticeship with the International Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners. She got her journeyman’s card in 1975, then wrote a book about it called “Against the Grain.”

In Iowa, she founded a general contracting company specializing in solar and energy efficient design. She’s built a post office, dental building, library and hospital for the University of Iowa, according to a biography provided by MaineHousing.

She moved to Maine in 1980 to work at Cornerstones, an owner-builder cooperative, worked at the Central Maine Vocational Technical Institute and launched the nonprofit Women Unlimited in 1988, which trains women for jobs in construction.

In the 80s, she led the Maine Lesbian/Gay Political Alliance, which became regular players at the State House as they tried to pass protections from discrimination for gays and lesbians.

In 1990, she ran for the state Senate after having served on the Monmouth Planning Board.

McCormick went on to serve six years in the Senate, playing key roles on workers compensation legislation, a bill to allow nurse practitioners to practice independently, the “Dig Safe” program that helps identify underground hazards, and a bill to deregulate credit cards that opened the door for MBNA to move to Maine.

In 1997, McCormick was chosen as state Treasurer by the Democratic Legislature, a position she held for eight years until term limits forced her from office in 2005.

It was then that Gov. John Baldacci appointed her to lead MaineHousing, where her salary has been about $101,500 a year since 2007.

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