It’s hard to read the newspaper anymore without feeling physically sick. Colin Woodard’s Dec. 24 article, “Sen. Collins’ vote on Republican tax plan risks her moderate reputation,” did nothing to quiet my stomach, as Sen. Susan Collins feebly attempted to backpedal on her justification for supporting the disastrous tax bill: “Collins’ office has said the senator didn’t intend to convey that the tax cuts will pay for themselves.”

There is no prettier way to say it: That is a lie.

I joined four other parents of children with disabilities at a meeting with Sen. Collins’ Portland staff the day before she voted on the tax bill. We described how we rely on Medicaid to support special education for our children, provide them with health care and fund every service that adults with disabilities rely on to survive, including housing, employment and transportation. We expressed our fear that the tax cuts would result in drastic reductions in Medicaid funding.

The staffer leafed through her stack of talking points, looked us straight in the eye and said, “There will be no cuts to Medicaid under this tax package. The bill will pay for itself.”

That was not a vague message she inadvertently “conveyed.” That was a clear statement of Sen. Collins’ position, a direct quote that I wrote in my notes. Verbatim. That Sen. Collins is lying about it now is almost as offensive as the vote itself.

One of the first things the staffer said to us when we walked into the meeting room was that recording devices were not permitted. No wonder – Collins wanted the freedom to change her story later.

Lisa Wesel