I’ve often thought that Maine is just one big small town connected by long roads. Well, in the past year or two, those roads have gotten steeper and bumpier as we dealt with an unprecedented pandemic and the resulting economic troubles.

As we faced the historic challenges, something impressive happened. We came together and lent a hand to our neighbors wherever we could to keep things running and spirits high.

Down in Washington, Congress tried to help Maine communities get through this struggle, so that our state would come out stronger. To do that, we put in the work and set some things into motion that are already helping Maine people. That’s why you hired us, after all.

The pandemic made something we’d known for a while clear: Those roads and networks that connect our big town needed repair, improvements, and expansion — from bridges to broadband. So, while Maine was uniting toward a common purpose, Congress came together to pass the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law — legislation that makes generational investments in physical infrastructure, broadband connections, harbors, and the energy grid. These efforts will lay the foundation for Maine’s 21st century economy and make sure even the most rural areas aren’t left behind.

Over the last two years, as we drove up and down our state, we couldn’t help but see storefronts in trouble and prices rising as the economy struggled through a global recession. And again, while you focused your efforts on getting through the difficult times, Congress took meaningful action. We passed the American Rescue Plan in 2021, which enabled Gov. Mills and the state of Maine to better meet the health and economic difficulties of the pandemic. At a critical moment it expanded health care efforts to confront COVID and invested in the state to keep the economy in far better shape than most others nationwide.

Congress didn’t stop there. This year, we took even more concrete steps to cut costs, create jobs, and provide more affordable, cleaner energy. The bipartisan CHIPS Act will bring home the manufacturing of the technical components known as “chips” that are used in everything these days — from smartphones to microwaves to cars — and in doing so reduce prices and create good American jobs. We also passed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) to lower health care costs, allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices, and cut energy bills with new rebates for things like heat pumps and solar panels.

Beyond these major investments, we also passed vital legislation to improve the day-to-day lives of Maine people and Americans nationwide. On a bipartisan basis, we expanded health care for veterans exposed to toxins, stabilized the Postal Service we rely on, strengthened protections for marriage equality, supported Ukraine as it fought off a bloody Russian invasion, and delivered millions in federal investments to projects up and down our state.

So, as Maine worked to get through hard times, Congress took steps to support our state. We’re already starting to see brighter days ahead and I’m proud to have played a small part down here. It’s a true privilege to listen to you, work with you, and build a brighter future for all the incredible people up and down the roads that connect our big small town.

Sen. Angus King, an independent, has served as Maine’s junior senator since 2013.