Activist group demands public meeting with Susan Collins

Collins team responds to criticism
By Dan Otis Smith | Apr 18, 2017
Source: Sen. Susan Collins

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.

Comments (15)
Posted by: lucinda lang | Apr 21, 2017 12:33

Gee what I read in this article  is simply not true. This is not about who voted for who this is about a Congress person'a job .This is about democracy and educating ourselves and participating in a government which is an integral part of our lives.

Senator Collins, most of us work full time, many have families and others to care for, and those of us with some extra time are either retired are trying to retire. We are not able to make contacting you our full time job. We are not able to leave our lives and travel to D.C. to your office. We are incredibly lucky to have mature people who are volunteering to provide leadership for the various groups all asking to meet with you. We are not provided with full staffs and many offices.

Yes per your direction to stop calling your offices (!!!) we write and receive responses which are basically a form letter.  Other members of Congress respond substantively to specific questions and concerns.  Other members of Congress make their schedules available to their constituents.

From what I read in various local and national newspapers, news sources, facebook and twitter it appears that Senator Collins' is in Maine every weekend and in addition for entire weeks throughout each year YET Senator Collins has not once been available to meet with any one of the various groups who are basically "begging" to meet. No we do not want a one on one meeting, we work together.

I think it is appropriate for Senator Collins to set up regular public meetings on a bi-monthly basis rotating locations. To care about constituents the meetings could be held on weekends as well as early evening and organized so that a person does not have to drive 1hr+ in each direction to get to a meeting.

Senator Collins, many of us are looking forward to receiving the various dates available to meet with the various all volunteer groups!

Posted by: ROBERT JORDEN | Apr 20, 2017 15:09

If Senator Collins aspires to be Maine's governor, she will have to do a much better job of listening to her constituents, particularly in settings such as the forum with Senator King.  If she can't be bothered to show up, then many individuals like myself won't be showing up at the polls to support her future races. Mainers deserve better.

Posted by: James Bowers | Apr 20, 2017 09:07

I don't know how productive a meeting would be, but go for it. You won't change her ways. She votes as instructed by Republican leadership. She occasionally is allowed to cast a moderate vote. How could she have a vision to lead Maine?

Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Apr 20, 2017 08:06

Senator Collins may want to run for governor. This is an example of what happens when she is under fire from voters. When the GOP protest it is a tea party, when the Dems protest it is hostile. The only answer is at the voting booth. Anyone that thinks Donald Trump deserves respect is sadly mistaken. The time when the POTUS was respected because of the title has long since past. I want Trump to be held accountable for his actions and all his secrecy, not because of his party, because it is the right thing to do. Senator Collins knows this as well as I do but as member of the party in control she allows it to continue. At the root of it all is greed.

Posted by: Mike Kerzee | Apr 20, 2017 06:00

Sonja, you could not be further from the truth. If you witnessed or read about Senator King's event in Portland you'd know that it was a bi-partisan, civil event with no hostility whatsoever. And this Senator Collins event has been designed in the exact same format. Why not come out tonight and see for yourself.

Posted by: Sonja Sleeper | Apr 20, 2017 01:28

I support Senator Collins decision.  This meeting tomorrow will be a hostile event, and counter productive. I witnessed a couple already and the participants are looking for an opportunity to vent their spleens and will not be listening for a response.  My suggestion is, why not give it a rest for a bit, and if you still have grievances try for a meet in say September when cooler heads will hopefully prevail.

Posted by: Nancy Ford | Apr 19, 2017 17:30

I agree that "soon" could be tomorrow, April 20th, in Thomaston, 6:30pm at Watts Hall!!

Tomorrow (4/20/17) is a perfect opportunity for Senator Susan Collins to meet, face to face, with so many constituents of varied backgrounds, focus, needs and perspectives!!!

I was very disappointed with the streaming attempt at "meeting" during the the Senator's last recess! My laptop stalled and I kept trying to replay it, but could only hear the same introductions, over and over...SO frustrating and fruitless!

I suggest a quick trip to the Midcoast, to listen and share with ALL voters present, not a small pre-selected audience...please and thank you?!!!



Posted by: Dorothy Arseneau | Apr 19, 2017 15:58

'Senator Collins feels that meeting with small numbers of constituents is more effective than large town hall-style gatherings' - how does this make sense...?  Town halls, protest marches, voting are ALL important elements of being citizens in a democracy. As is often said  - democracy is not a spectator sport. Town halls are especially important because they are a chance to communicate directly with our elected representatives about important issues. I sincerely hope Senator Collins will show up Thursday, April 20 6:30pm in Thomaston for the Town Hall at Watts Hall.

Posted by: Mike Kerzee | Apr 19, 2017 12:21

I respect Senator Collin's voting record and willingness to be a conscientious legislator. However, her unwillingness to meet with her constituents reveals the other side of Senator Collins. She only wants to appear as if she is listening to us. She is consistently conflicted and often flip-flops when we aren't watching. Well, now we intend to watch her ever closer and this listening session is witness to our conviction to do so.

There's still time Senator, give us your ear!

Posted by: Penelope Ray | Apr 19, 2017 11:17

This is not about liberal vs conservative or Democrat vs Republican.   This is about the response Susan Collins has given to concerned citizens.  She is not welcoming feedback or interaction with her constituents, regardless of what Annie Clark says. There is no way to meet with her personally.  What Collins says and what she does conflict.  This is not about "moving on" - this is about moving forward and having a relationship with the senator who is supposed to be representing us - and who sadly is avoiding open communication.   Collins postures as a 'moderate,' but her recent actions belie that.


Posted by: Nancy Baker | Apr 19, 2017 09:01

I don't understand the criticism of constituents who ask to voice their concerns and ask questions of their elected officials. It's democracy at work. Senator Collins has declined their request or ignored it for months. If indeed she wants to meet with them soon she ought to seize the opportunity on Thursday night, the 20th, at 6:30 in Thomaston. Her actions will then substantiate her rhetoric.


Posted by: Iris Joyce | Apr 18, 2017 23:09

i seriously can't believe the liberal mindset.




Posted by: Valerie Wass | Apr 18, 2017 21:06

Everyone has a right to protest.  I just don't understand why people are protesting President Trump.  Get over it, get on with it and respect our United States President, whether you like him or not!  Hey, I didn't vote for him either but he is our President and marching up and down the street holding signs is not going to amount to crap.  Time to set an example for our youth and suck this up, folks, and move on!

Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Apr 18, 2017 15:27

This seems petty statements about Susan Collins. What is their problem? Susan represents Maine to the fullest.


Posted by: George Terrien | Apr 18, 2017 14:04

"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."

So, Senator Collins:  When?  and Where?

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