I recently visited the office of one of my senators, Susan Collins, in Portland, along with two friends.

We wanted to talk about the Green New Deal: What is the senator’s position? Will she support Sen. Ed Markey’s bill when it comes to a floor vote? Will she co-sponsor it? And, would she come to a Climate Change Town Hall if we schedule one for the next congressional break?

We were met with hostility.

I hadn’t even finished the first sentence before the staffer turned her back on us to walk away. And though we persuaded her to stay, she was so dismissive and angry throughout our visit that I was shaken to the core.

This is not democracy. And we deserve better.

I disagree with Sen. Collins on many things, but I am still a constituent. In fact, my friends and our two member groups – Lincoln County Indivisible and Mainers for Accountable Leadership – represent nearly 12,000 Maine voters. You might think that would earn us basic courtesy. You might think that any person walking into Sen. Collins’ office would be entitled to basic courtesy, but – to my great surprise – you would be wrong.

I am committed to fighting for our democracy and our environment, so I will keep showing up, but I know many who would walk away and never return to the office of Sen. Collins if they were treated the way I was.

Kate Josephs


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