Activist group demands public meeting with Susan CollinsCollins team responds to criticism
Thomaston — A spokesperson for Republican Sen. Susan Collins responded April 18 to claims by local activists that she has refused to hold a meeting with them by defending the senator's record of meeting personally with constituents.
"Senator Collins is well known in Maine for the enormous number of constituents — literally thousands — with whom she meets personally," the emailed statement from Collins Communications Director Annie Clark reads, going on to list public forums and meetings the senator has attended in Maine in the past six months, as well as regular meetings she holds in Washington that are open to all Mainers.
"Our office has offered a meeting to Midcoast Maine Indivisible," the statement reads, referring to the group that has said Collins has ignored or turned down requests to hold a town hall with them. "Senator Collins would be happy to meet with them soon."
Midcoast Maine Indivisible has organized recent area protests, including an April 15 march in Thomaston demanding President Donald Trump release his tax returns and an April 8 sing-in in Camden. Their next event is a “listening town hall” scheduled for April 20 at 6:30 at Watts Hall, 170 Main St., Thomaston, to ask questions of and voice concerns to Collins.
However, the group has said Collins' office has ignored or turned down requests to attend that event or any meeting with them.
In a press release April 6, the group said it had made multiple attempts to contact Collins over two and a half months in order to meet with her during a congressional recess or at any time during the almost four remaining years of her current term.
According to the release, the most the senator offered was a video conference with a handful of participants. Instead, the group scheduled the April 20 event at Watts Hall in Thomaston and plans to record attendees asking questions that the senator can answer later.
The press release added that groups including SuitUp Maine, Lincoln County Indivisible and the Midcoast Women’s Collective are also involved in organizing the event.
A report published Feb. 26 in the Portland Press Herald quoted a written statement from Collins saying she finds large town hall-style gatherings less effective than meeting with small numbers of constituents.