SOUTH PORTLAND — Sen. Angus King should be commended by all Mainers for his outstanding leadership. While King has served Maine well in general as senator since 2013, his leadership following the 2016 election has been particularly impressive – and it’s a refreshing and necessary antidote to the actions taken and the statements made (and, too often, not made) by other Maine politicians.

Here is just a short list of the actions and statements by King since Dec. 8 that Mainers for Accountable Leadership applaud:

 He publicly stated his opposition to proceeding with hearings for Donald Trump’s Cabinet appointees before the proper ethics checks were done on the appointees and the committees were given time to review all relevant background information.

 He voted against adopting a budget plan that moved the Senate one step closer to repealing the Affordable Care Act, saying that the move “will have disastrous consequences for tens of thousands of people in Maine and millions more across the country.”

 He spoke truth to power to those who have been involved in a range of post-election scandals and troubling issues, and pushed them for answers all Americans deserve. For example, he confronted FBI Director James Comey during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Russian interference in the election. When Comey claimed that the FBI would never publicly confirm or deny a pending investigation, King called him out, saying, “The irony of your making that statement here, I cannot avoid.”

 He shared his personal health care story on the Senate floor – as hundreds of other Mainers have done in recent weeks – to illustrate the importance of access to quality affordable health care for all people.

 He weighed in on the controversial L.L. Bean boycott, taking a clear position that told constituents exactly where he stood on the issue.

 He attended the hearings for Secretary of State-designate Rex Tillerson and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator-designate Scott Pruitt – who appeared before committees of which King is not a member – to learn additional details about them and do his proper due diligence going into the full Senate vote. (Tillerson has since been confirmed.)

What’s more, King’s approach to interacting with his constituents – the people who can vote him in or out of office – has been exemplary. A few examples:

 The staff at the senator’s various offices are extremely receptive to constituents’ questions, concerns, requests and expectations. They take notes and are willing to engage in discussion and answer questions as best they can.

• King responds to emails and inquiries quickly, with written answers that directly address constituents’ specific questions and concerns. His answers are straightforward and transparent; constituents know where he stands when he communicates about an issue.

 King’s representatives make it a point to hold “town hall”-style meetings in Maine that are open to the public. The senator himself has proactively invited and encouraged constituents to attend these open meetings so his team can hear their concerns.

 King has conducted a 2017 post-election survey asking constituents about their most important issues and concerns over the next four years.

 King livestreamed a recent meeting with members of Bridgton Hospital discussing the ACA and the state of health care in Maine, thus enabling constituents to get a tableside seat at this important discussion.

These may seem like “soft” actions compared to those the senator takes on Cabinet appointees or Senate votes. But they are extraordinarily valuable to us as voters, as they tell us that King actively seeks out constituent feedback, listens to that feedback and responds.

Going forward, we hope to see King further demonstrate his leadership in a variety of ways – including refusing to work with Republicans if they repeal the ACA and then disingenuously reach across the aisle “in the spirit of bipartisanship” for help crafting a solution. We will be watching closely, of course.

Maine needs leaders who are principled, committed, forthcoming, transparent and proactive. Angus King is demonstrating all these characteristics at a time when they are needed most.


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