Why Everyone Should Care About The Maine Senate Election

Election day is rapidly coming, and if you are like me, you are overwhelmed. There is so much at stake, and every single state has senators and representatives up for re-election. Each state’s election is important; however, people are not following or taking every election as seriously as they should be — like the United States Senate election in Maine, my hometown. 

It is easy to dismiss Maine and its inhabitants as friendly, slightly socially awkward neighbors in the Northeast who wear a little too much flannel, only eat potatoes and maple syrup, and are responsible for Stephen King and Patrick Dempsey. Maine is by no means the most important state — we have four electoral votes and are for the most part unknown. However, we have a senator who is infamous in the senate and currently holds a lot of power: Susan Collins.

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

If you are not familiar with Susan Collins, let me give you the run-down. She is a Republican Senator from Maine who is praised for her “moderate standpoint.” And, for the most part, she was moderate. From 1997 to 2016, she voted with her fellow Republicans 59% of the time; however, afterward, she voted with her fellow Republicans 87% of the time. 

A large number of those times, those votes negatively affected the people she represented and promised to support. She claims she still holds her “moderate standpoint” by being one of only three Republican senators who are pro-choice, but she has supported roughly 90% of President Trump’s overly conservative choices for federal judge positions. Of these candidates, 32 explicitly said they did not support pro-choice laws and are known to hold anti-abortion ideologies.

People holding signs at a pro-choice rally in Washington D.C Photo by Maria Oswalt from Unsplash

Have you ever wondered why Brett Kavanaugh was able to become a Supreme Court justice despite the overwhelming lack of support for him? Remember when the country was trying to convince moderate Republicans to vote against Kavanaugh? Well, Susan Collins was one of those Senators and she voted to approve both of Trump’s Supreme Court nominees: Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch.

Also, remember when the House of Representatives impeached Trump, and we were desperately hoping the Senate would convict him? Well, Susan Collins was one of the Senators everyone begged to vote with the Democrats; instead, she voted with the Republicans to acquit him. Of course, afterward, she released a statement trying to justify her actions; however, it was too late because she had already helped get him acquitted

Supreme Court Photo by Claire Anderson from Unsplash

Now, you might be wondering, who is running against her? The answer is Sara Gideon from Rhode Island (gasp, not a true Mainer). That said, she has been serving in the Maine State House of Representatives since 2012. She is a member of the Democratic Party and has voted for a variety of different bills that benefit Maine. 

She has voted to block the CMP corridor, a controversial plan in Maine that would put a powerline through the state that would not benefit the people of Maine in any way. She also voted for bills that require Maine to reach 80% renewable energy by 2030 and 100% by 2050. Additionally, she supports the ACA and has an option for public health insurance.

there is no planet b Photo by Li-An Lim from Unsplash

She also promises to fight to expand access to abortion, to benefit those in poverty, and promises to help Planned Parenthood. She opposes the Trump Tax Bill and overwhelmingly supports the development of renewable energy. She is also pro-gun control to name a few of her progressive initiatives. While Sara Gideon is by no means a perfect candidate, she is the Senator that Maine and this country need right now.