Mainers demand Sen. Collins meet with constituents, stand up to Trump

Mainers demand Sen. Collins meet with constituents, stand up to Trump

More than a thousand Mainers rallied on the steps of City Hall in Portland on Sunday morning to call on Senator Susan Collins to stand against a series of appointments and policy moves by President Donald Trump and her Republican colleagues in Congress. They also called on her to attend a town hall style meeting planned for the congressional recess week at the end of February so that she can hear from Mainers whose lives will be directly impacted by the votes she takes in Washington. Collins rarely holds or attends open forum events.

“What we are seeing now, with her initial vote to move forward on repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), with her introduction of Senator Jeff Sessions at his confirmation hearing, and her failure to reject the ethically challenged cabinet nominees of President Trump, is a Senator Collins who is moving far to the right to align with Trump and choosing party allegiance over doing what is right for Maine and for America,” said April Humphrey, a leader of the group Mainers for Accountable Leadership, which organized the rally. “We would like to reconnect you with us regular Mainers – the people whose lives your decisions will impact and who you are accountable to. Mainers are awake and paying attention and organizing.”

Speakers highlighted moral and Constitutional concerns with Trump’s travel ban targeting Muslim populations, the negative impact repealing the Affordable Care Act will have on Maine, ethical and policy concerns with Trump’s cabinet nominees, conflicts of interest regarding Trump and his business operations, and concerns regarding foreign manipulation and interference in the democratic process.

“Your vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act puts my daughter, Caroline’s life in limbo,” said Grace Jacobs of Shapleigh, addressing Maine’s senior senator. “I am making my voice loud and clear that this cannot happen. I cannot sit while the ACA is repealed and wait to see what the next replacement plan looks like. Too much is at risk here. My daughter’s life literally sits in the balance. Do not allow the repeal of the ACA without a replacement ready to go that maintains the protections to her care.”

Speakers noted that several of Trump’s nominees that will soon face votes in the senate have personal histories and ideologies diametrically opposed to the agencies they have been nominated to lead, including climate change denier Scott Pruitt at the Environmental Protection Agency and anti-minimum-wage advocate Andy Puzder for Secretary of Labor.

The tempo of activism in the state only increased later on Sunday, as thousands more activists staged impromptu rallies at the Portland Jetport and Bangor International Airport to protest Trump’s immigration ban.

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