Senator Collins to Husson grads: ‘hyper-partisanship, insult, and accusation are poisoning our discourse’

Senator Collins issued two challenges to Husson University grads: stay in Maine, and restore civility and union to the country.
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BANGOR, Maine — Senator Susan Collins delivered the commencement address at Husson University Saturday morning and called on students to rise above political hostility and restore civility.

Sen. Collins issued two challenges to the graduates: “please stay in Maine,” a plea to bolster Maine’s dwindling workforce; and to “restore community, civility, and union in our great country.”

Sen. Collins said, “we live in a time of ever-worsening divisiveness, a time in which the bonds that have characterized and strengthened our country are not just in danger of being lost, but far too often, deliberately discarded. From government to social media, or perhaps anti-social would be the more accurate term, to the 24/7 news cycle, hyper partisanship, insult and accusation are poisoning our discourse, turning us against one another and preventing us from coming together to solve real problems.”

RELATED: Woman charged with sending Sen. Collins threatening mail pleads not guilty

RELATED: Maine’s congressional delegation speaks out after release of Mueller report

Collins said these attitudes are weakening “our sense of community” and “undermining our willingness to listen and learn from one another. This modern day tribalism divides society into ‘us versus them’ and increasingly we isolate ourselves from those who are not just like ourselves, wanting to talk only to those who mirror our political viewpoints and listen to the same media sources that we do.”

WATCH THE FULL SPEECH HERE

The class entering Husson University this past fall was the largest in the University’s history.

“This polarization is contrary to the foundation of our society that values experience and expertise with centrality of fact, humility in the face of complexity, the need for study, and a respect for differing perspectives,” said Collins. “Those who seek compromise are vilified and even threatened.”

RELATED: Sen. Collins and staff getting abusive calls and correspondence

Sen. Collins received threats surrounding her decision to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

“I am counting on you graduates to lead the way,” she said.

Maine: Recent votes in the US Senate by Susan Collins and Angus King.

(Notice how they both voted against the Green New Deal, and for National Emergency measures.)

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Susan Collins

National Key Votes

Date Bill No. Bill Title Outcome Vote
April 11, 2019 PN 503 Confirmation of David Bernhardt as the Secretary of the Interior Senate Yea
March 26, 2019 S J Res 8 A joint resolution recognizing the duty of the Federal Government to create a Green New Deal Cloture Invoked – Senate Nay
March 14, 2019 H J Res 46 Relating to a national emergency declared by the President on February 15, 2019 Bill Passed – Senate
(59 – 41)
Yea
March 13, 2019 S J Res 7 A joint resolution to direct the removal of United States Armed Forces from hostilities in the Republic of Yemen that have not been authorized by Congress Bill Passed – Senate
(54 – 46)
Yea

Angus King

National Key Votes

Date Bill No. Bill Title Outcome Vote
April 11, 2019 PN 503 Confirmation of David Bernhardt as the Secretary of the Interior Senate Yea
March 26, 2019 S J Res 8 A joint resolution recognizing the duty of the Federal Government to create a Green New Deal Cloture Invoked – Senate Nay
March 14, 2019 H J Res 46 Relating to a national emergency declared by the President on February 15, 2019 Bill Passed – Senate
(59 – 41)
Yea
March 13, 2019 S J Res 7 A joint resolution to direct the removal of United States Armed Forces from hostilities in the Republic of Yemen that have not been authorized by Congress Bill Passed – Senate
(54 – 46)
Yea
Feb. 28, 2019 PN 22 Nomination of Andrew Wheeler to be Administrator of Environmental Protection Agency Senate
(52 – 47)
Nay

‘The Maine electorate has had it with her’: Constituents turn on Susan Collins

Senator Susan Collins of Maine spoke to news media at Saint Anselm College in Manchester in September 2018.
Senator Susan Collins of Maine spoke to news media at Saint Anselm College in Manchester in September 2018.

Senator Susan Collins’s reputation for bipartisanship has brought her respect across the aisle over 22 years in Washington, D.C. But these days, the famously temperate 66-year-old senior stateswoman from Maine is inspiring the kind of liberal animus more typically directed at people named Trump.

“Betrayed” is a word that comes up.

“I used to think that she was kind of a voice of reason. I thought she could maybe go across the aisle and get some things done,” said Pam Cunningham, a Boothbay Democrat who voted for Collins last time around.

Collins’s vote for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has galvanized left-leaning activists like Cunningham, who are actively trying to unseat her in 2020 — and though they don’t yet have a candidate, they have raised nearly $3.8 million.

Early in the Donald Trump era, Collins was eyed optimistically by Democrats as someone who might save their day. But the Supreme Court vote was the latest in a string of positions Collins has taken where, after lengthy, attention-getting deliberations, she sided with the GOP. For some voters, hope in Collins has curdled into vengeance.

“The Maine electorate has had it with her not voting with the majority of her constituents,” said Amy Halsted, co-director of the Maine People’s Alliance, a statewide community organizing group that has about 32,000 members. “They no longer believe her claims to be a moderate.”

At the same time, the political mood in Maine has been volatile. The state supported Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump in 2016, and after two terms of the combative conservative Governor Paul LePage, flipped the state government blue in November, handing Democrats the governor’s office, Senate, and House.

Given that backdrop, Democratic organizations were already viewing Collins as vulnerable. Now, they are trying to attach to her blame not only for her own votes, but for those of Kavanaugh.

When he, for instance, dissented on an abortion rights case this month, left-wing political organizations pounced on Collins. Demand Justice, a judicial advocacy group, launched a digital ad targeting Collins and warning, “We Won’t Forget.” The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee panned Kavanaugh’s ruling, calling him “Senator Collins’s Supreme Court Judge.”

Of course, Collins was alternately cheered by the right, which rewarded her mightily for her pivotal support for Kavanaugh. In the three months following the vote, Collins set a career high for quarterly fund-raising, drawing in nearly $1.8 million. The previous quarter, she had raised only $140,000.

“People generally like Susan Collins in Maine. I would never underestimate her,” said Brian Duff, a political scientist and associate professor at University of New England in Maine. “But I do think she’s uniquely vulnerable this go-round.”

Activists have been birddogging Collins since the opening days of the Trump administration, protesting Cabinet appointees and staging sit-ins in her office, said Marie Follayttar, a sculptor who founded Mainers for Accountable Leadership. The Maine People’s Alliance intends to knock on doors to reach hundreds of thousands of voters this year, highlighting Collins’s record and arguing that she is not representing Maine voters’ interests.

In a statement, Collins suggested she is still calling them like she sees them and pointed to a number of votes she has taken against her party — opposing the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and the nominations of Cabinet appointees Scott Pruitt and Betsy DeVos, for instance.

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“Often these outside groups, on both sides, want 100% fidelity to 100% of their views 100% of the time,” Collins said in a statement. “But I’ve always believed that neither side has a monopoly on good ideas and that in order to craft the best policy, you need to bring both sides to the table to find common ground.”

Collins also said she is accustomed to being in the public eye, “as a centrist who is willing to work across the aisle and who must often cast the deciding vote.”

But she said she is concerned “by the appalling hyperpartisanship that has repeatedly prevented us from getting things done on behalf of the American people.’’

Early on, when Collins bucked the Republican Party and voted to preserve the Affordable Care Act, Mainers gave her a hero’s welcome, literally cheering her return to the Bangor airport. But later she voted for a tax bill that would undo a key part of the health law, the individual mandate.

Then, the signs greeting her at the airport simply said, “Shame.’’

“Collins had given so many Mainers hope that she would protect our health care with her votes against the repeal of the ACA,” said Follayttar.

While Collins had long carefully honed her reputation as a moderate, Duff pointed to recent votes he views as “obviously problematic,” including her support for Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and her vote for a tax cut package that will increase the deficit.

“She has very little chance of explaining that vote in a way that makes sense to Maine voters,” Duff said.

Conversely, he thought she was consistent in her vote for Kavanaugh, which she painstakingly explained it in a 45-minute floor speech in October. “It was articulate, thoughtful, consistent with the way she has spoken and voted through her career,” he said.

That wasn’t the way that Collins’s critics heard her speech, however.

“I have never been so disappointed in anybody in my life,” said Laurie Fear, an addictions counselor and activist who lives in Portland.

That was also an ugly and trying period for Collins, who faced protesters at home and at her offices, whose aides fielded rape and death threats. Her house was visited by a haz-mat team after she received an envelope purporting to contain ricin. Activists sent to her 3,000 coat hangers, symbolizing the tools of back-alley abortions that activists say women would resort to if Kavanaugh helped roll back abortion rights.

Anti-Kavanaugh activists also raised money and pledged to donate it to Collins’s next opponent if she voted to confirm the nomination. She called that tantamount to bribery.

“Anyone who thought I would auction off my vote to the highest bidder obviously doesn’t know me. I made my decision based on the merits of the nomination,” she said. “This effort played no role in my decision-making whatsoever.”

That is heartbreaking to such people as Cunningham — who joined other Maine women to meet Collins in Washington in hopes of persuading her to vote against Kavanaugh.

She opened up to Collins about her own attempted rape, which she had seldom spoken of, in the hopes of explaining why a woman would not immediately report a sexual assault, as was the case with the women who accused Kavanaugh.

“We all thought maybe our stories would get through to her on a personal level, a woman-to-woman kind of thing,” said Cunningham.

Later, Collins sent her a form letter that mentioned that very meeting with survivors of sexual assault as evidence of the thorough deliberations she undertook in making the decision. “She was using my story to try to portray herself in a favorable light,” Cunningham said. “I really don’t think she did take our opinions into consideration.”

Ariel Linet, a disability attorney and Portland constituent who called and visited Collins’s offices trying to urge her to vote against Kavanaugh, said she no longer views Collins as a moderate.

“I don’t think that she’s taken any brave stances against her party,” she said. “I think she’s hemmed and hawed a lot and ultimately always toed the party line.”

https://www.crowdpac.com/campaigns/387413/fund-susan-collins-future-opponent

Collins on shutdown: Trump’s plan “is by no means ideal but it would result in the reopening of government, my priority.”

Collins cited a litany of problems caused by the shutdown in a Senate floor speech Wednesday. She said Trump’s plan “is by no means ideal but it would result in the reopening of government, my priority.”

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WASHINGTON — Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine is coming out in support of President Donald Trump’s proposal for ending the government shutdown. Her spokeswoman says she also intends to vote for a Democratic alternative to reopen the government.

Collins cited a litany of problems caused by the shutdown in a Senate floor speech Wednesday. She said Trump’s plan “is by no means ideal but it would result in the reopening of government, my priority.”

The Senate will vote Thursday on the proposals, both of which face likely defeat. But Collins said, “the outlines of a compromise are before us.”

One bill reflects Trump’s demand for border wall funding in exchange for temporary protections for some immigrants. The Democratic proposal calls for short-term funding while a compromise is hashed out.

 

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Protestors call on Sen. Collins to end the shutdown. Furloughed workers, others rallied and marched to Sen. Susan Collins’ Portland, Maine office to deliver letter

PORTLAND, Maine — Protestors in Maine are calling on Sen. Susan Collins to end the partial federal government shutdown. Organizers rallied and then marched to her office in Portland to deliver a large letter with demands that she publicly call for a vote and stand with Maine workers who are currently furloughed.

Some in attendance are working without a paycheck, including TSA employees in Maine. Bill Reiley is a TSA worker from Alfred, Maine and the vice president of the American Federation of Government Employees. Reiley said his co-workers couldn’t join him at the rally because they were on the clock.

“They are at the Jetport,” said Reiley. “They’re protecting the flights and protecting our national security. They are doing it as an indentured servant because they are not being paid.”

The rally was held prior to Sen. Collins speech on the Senate floor Wednesday. Collins spoke in favor of President Trump’s proposed plan to end the government shutdown. The president’s plan includes three years of temporary protective status for dreamers and funding for the border wall.

Senator Collins also talked about the Dreamers part of the plan saying she would rather their protective status to be permanent, rather than for just three years.

The Senate will vote on President Trump’s plan to end the government shut down tomorrow.

Another protest rally is planned Thursday in Portland and Bangor at 1:00 p.m.

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Maine Senator Susan Collins continues her attempt at making voters forget her legacy.

Maine Senator Collins called the White House on Friday afternoon and urged them to make an immediate fix to the payroll system issue that would have prevented 42,000 Coast Guard members from being paid for pre-shutdown work.

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MAINE, USA — In a statement released Friday evening, Senator Susan Collins says that Coast Guard members will receive their pay on Monday, December 31st.

Sen. Susan Collins

@SenatorCollins

Good news for the Coast Guard! White House staff called to tell me CG members will receive their paychecks as did other federal employees. I continue to work to end the shutdown, but this will provide immediate relief to CG members & their families.

Sen. Susan Collins

@SenatorCollins

Most federal employees will receive their scheduled paychecks today, but that is not the case for 42,000 Coast Guard members, who will not be paid for pre-shutdown work because they are under a different pay system. This is not fair. I called the WH to urge an immediate fix.

Senator Collins called the White House on Friday afternoon and urged them to make an immediate fix to the payroll system issue that would have prevented 42,000 Coast Guard members from being paid for pre-shutdown work.

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Sen. Susan Collins was a backer of the Parity in Animal Cruelty Enforcement Act, which is part of the 2018 Farm Bill. The legislation passed both houses of Congress and has been signed into law.

Collins says the act is designed to protect animals from cruelty and crack down on criminal activities that are linked to animal fighting, such as drug trafficking and gang violence.

[If you’re a woman, though, you’re on your own.]

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