Bangor police arrested five people on criminal trespass charges Monday night after they refused to leave Sen. Susan Collins’ office in the federal building.

Sgt. Myron Warner said the individuals who occupied her office were given fair warning before they were taken into custody without incident. Criminal trespass is a Class E misdemeanor.

“They were very peaceful,” said Warner, who read a dispersal order that gave them the option of leaving before they were arrested. Only one protester left. “They were just there to protest,” the sergeant said.

Bangor police responded to the sit-in around 6 p.m. after receiving a complaint from the Department of Homeland Security. Collins’ office is located inside the Margaret Chase Smith Federal Building at 202 Harlow St. The senator was not present.

The individuals went into Collins’ office late Monday afternoon to protest her support of the Republican tax cut plan in the Senate. They want Collins to reverse her vote.

“I always welcome hearing the views of my constituents,” Collins, R-Maine, said in a statement. “This is an opportunity for me to let them know that a single mom with one child earning $35,000 would receive $1,100 back from the government, rather than owing income tax.”


Collins said the Senate bill means a family with an income of $24,000 would no longer pay income tax. She also said she negotiated a provision that will benefit seniors with high medical expenses by allowing them to deduct medical expenses that exceed 7.5 percent of their income.

“A big part of this anger is the feeling that this plan will lock in inequalities for generations to come,” said Matt Schlobohm, executive director of the Maine AFL-CIO. “It’s an absolutely terrible bill.”

Schlobohm said the people who were arrested by Bangor police are working-class folks who will be harmed by the Republican tax plan.

Jim Betts, a retired state worker and military veteran, was among those arrested.

“My wife and I worked our entire lives. We rely on Medicare for health coverage. This bill puts Medicare and Social Security on the chopping block and threatens the healthcare of Maine seniors,” Betts, 66, said in a statement.

“This bill gives massive tax cuts to the rich on the backs of working people,” added 39-year-old Nick Paquet, an electrician from Benton who also was arrested. “It was written by the rich and powerful for the rich and powerful.”

Tina Davidson, a disability rights advocate and veteran from Portland; Erin Oberon, a nurse at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, and Sarah Bigney, of the Maine AFL-CIO, were also arrested.



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