Welcome to the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram’s inaugural “Mainer of the Year” edition. Our intention was to single out the Maine resident who has had tremendous influence, has dominated the news or has shown unusual courage. It’s a high bar for politicians, who can affect our lives every day. But in selecting U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, we recognize her extraordinary impact in 2017; her vote against repealing the Affordable Care Act demonstrated a willingness to stand up to her party’s leadership in the face of intense pressure, while her support of a largely unpopular Republican tax overhaul will have broad economic repercussions for years to come. Because of her outsized influence on Maine and the nation, she earns the title of “Mainer of the Year.”

Below four photographs from different regions of Maine, Sen. Susan Collins sits on a couch in her office on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. She spent much of 2017 in the spotlight as Republicans voted on key bills focused on health care and taxes.

Her swing vote in the U.S. Senate has put her at the epicenter of political power with leverage that the Trump administration must reckon with. Read the story.

The Army staff sergeant who lost all of his limbs in Afghanistan personifies resilience, determination and faith. Read the story.

The Community Health Options CEO has stayed the course to offer health insurance for low-income Mainers. Read the story.

His split-second instinct to lift a fellow runner set new bar for Maine sportsmanship. Read the story.

The University for Maine professor started a conversation, and a movement, on Twitter. Read the story.

Her firm push against sexist dress codes persuaded schools to rethink rules. Read the story.

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