As a resident of Maine, I find it incredibly embarrassing that our senior senator, Susan Collins, used her position as a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee to include $1 billion in the FY2016 Omnibus Bill for a new Navy destroyer for which the Defense Department had not even requested funding.

While as a proud Mainer, I am all for protecting and increasing employment in Maine, I feel that this is just another an example of the worst kind of congressional pork.

It represents the kind of cynical manipulation of the national budget that powerful politicians regularly engage in. Remember the “Bridge to Nowhere” in Alaska?

The fact that Republican Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi similarly succeeded in securing $640 million for a new cutter that the Coast Guard said it didn’t want or need provides little comfort to the American people that Republican members of Congress are really looking out for the average Joe, as opposed to the interests of the wealthy and powerful military-industrial complex, as President Eisenhower so presciently warned us about in 1960.

As a former member of the International Association of Machinists, and a strong advocate for labor – and notwithstanding the Bath Iron Works unions supporting Susan Collins in her last campaign for re-election – I think that it is high time that sensible Mainers get their ducks in a row and demand that their senators and congressional representatives work for the interests of the people of Maine, and not for General Dynamics and their ilk seeking to subvert the public interest for private profit.

Seth Hall