Sen. Collins to remain in U.S. Senate

By Stephen Betts | Oct 13, 2017
Photo by: Daniel Dunkle U.S. Sen. Susan Collins speaks Oct. 13 at the Samoset Resort to a room packed with Midcoast business leaders and members of the press.

Rockport — Maine's senior U.S. senator, Republican Susan Collins, announced Friday, Oct. 13, that she will remain in the Senate and bypass a run for governor.

Collins made her long-awaited announcement at a breakfast meeting of the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce held at the Samoset Resort.

The senator said she made her decision based on where she could do the most for Maine and the country.

The announcement was met with a standing ovation from the audience of 230, nearly double the previously most-attended chamber breakfast.

There are four Republican candidates already registered to run for governor -- Maine House Republican leader Kenneth Fredette of Newport, state Sen. Garrett Paul Mason of Lisbon Falls, former Maine Department of Human Services Director Mary Mayhew of South China, and Deril Stubenrod of Clinton.

Ten Democrats, two Green independents, a Libertarian, and an unenrolled candidate have also filed paperwork with the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices.

The party primaries are in June and the general election is in November 2018.

Collins has been in the Senate since 1996 and is in her fourth six-year term. Her Senate term runs through 2020.

Collins ranks 15th in Senate seniority and is the most senior Republican woman. She chairs the Senate Select Committee on Aging and the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee, and also serves on the Intelligence Committee as well as the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, according to her office's web site.

Collins has been a pivotal vote in the Senate this year in defeating Republican attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Collins said she wants to continue to work on improving the nation's health care system and to work for a more peaceful and stable world.

“I am a congenital optimist, and I continue to believe that Congress can – and will – be more productive. I want to continue to play a key role in advancing policies that strengthen our economy, help our hard-working families, improve our health care system, and bring peace and stability to a violent and troubled world," she said.

She said Congress has been hampered by partisanship. "Successfully addressing issues will require us to overcome one obstacle -- the lack of civil discourse at the national level. Nowhere has hyper-partisanship been more evident than in the debate on health care reform," Collins said.

Collins said partisanship should not be a pre-existing condition.

She criticized how the Affordable Care Act was approved in 2009 without a single Republican vote. But the Republican also sharply criticized current Republican leadership for acting the same way as Democrats. She said the lack of public hearings and time to analyze ACA repeal proposals were wrong.

Each repeal proposal would have harmed Maine residents and hospitals. She said that older citizens in Maine would have been most harmed, with health insurance premiums skyrocketing with high deductibles. The most recent Republican leadership plan would have eliminated $1 trillion from the Medicaid program over the next decade, she said, which would have harmed low income citizens.

Any attempt to reform the current healthcare system must deal with rising costs, she said.

During the question-and-answer portion of her appearance, Collins said she opposes the Trump administration's plan to repeal the Clean Power Plan.

"I believe human activity contributes to climate change," Collins said.

She said the regulations not only help the environment, but also protect the health of Maine citizens.

Tom Peaco, the executive director of the Chamber, earned laughs at the beginning when he said he would not keep people waiting in anticipation and announced he would not run for governor but would remain at the chamber.

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins addresses issues including health care and the need for bipartisanship during a business breakfast Oct. 13 at the Samoset Resort in Rockport. (Photo by: Daniel Dunkle)
U.S. Sen. Susan Collins received a warm welcome and applause from members of the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce Oct. 13 at the Samoset Resort. (Photo by: Daniel Dunkle)
The event drew press from all over the state. (Photo by: Daniel Dunkle)
Comments (3)
Posted by: Kendall Merriam | Oct 14, 2017 12:54

At last, Sen. Susan Collins has found her inner Sen. Margaret Chase Smith! Hooray!

Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Oct 13, 2017 15:59

Shades of Margret Chase Smith in the day! Maine is surely lucky to have Susan Collins who sees both sides of the issues. 

Hopefully she will stay on in the Senate where she will help not only Maine but have influence in National issues.

Posted by: Harry Fitzgerald | Oct 13, 2017 13:53

Susan Collins would make a great governor, but we desperately need her voice in the U.S. Senate.

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