When I endorsed Joe Biden for president, I made it clear that character, decency and civility count. The same criteria apply to my endorsement of Sen. Susan Collins.

Mainers have been subjected to an unprecedented onslaught of negative ads attacking and maligning Susan Collins this year, many funded by shady dark money groups. It is impossible to watch TV for even a few minutes without being subjected to the relentless attacks.

Across the board, American politics has become more partisan, caustic, mean-spirited and disrespectful – with President Trump fanning the flames. Our nation, our state, our communities and even our families are divided more deeply than at any point in our lifetimes.

But in the midst of the chaos, division and vitriol, Susan Collins remains a rare and badly needed voice for civility and thoughtful bipartisan cooperation. In fact, year after year, she is recognized as the most bipartisan member of the United States Senate.

In doing so, she is upholding a proud Maine tradition in the mold of Margaret Chase Smith, Bill Cohen and Olympia Snowe. As someone who worked for Olympia Snowe for 17 years and served as her chief of staff in the U.S. Senate, that legacy means something to me.

Politics has definitely changed since my days working at the side of Olympia Snowe. But Susan Collins has not changed. She remains a constructive problem solver who does what she thinks is right for Maine and the Nation. She works effectively with liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans.

But those spending tens of millions of dollars to unseat America’s most bipartisan senator don’t care about that.

They attack Susan’s vote to confirm Justice Brett Kavanaugh but would have us forget her votes to confirm liberal Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, and her breaking with her party to support hearings for Obama Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland.

They attack Susan’s vote to acquit Republican President Donald Trump but would have us forget her vote to acquit Democratic President Bill Clinton in his impeachment trial.

They would have us forget Susan’s principled courage as the first Republican senator to announce her opposition to repealing the Affordable Care Act, and that she cast the deciding vote to save the ACA and its protections for those with pre-existing conditions.

They would have us forget that, in the wake of the devastating 2008 financial crisis, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe worked with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden to negotiate the stimulus package that rescued our economy.

They would have us forget that Susan was the only Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee to support repeal of the discriminatory “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, and helped shepherd its repeal on the Senate floor.

They would have us forget that Susan brought Republicans and Democrats together to start the Common Sense Caucus, which ultimately resolved the 2013 government shutdown and led to the reopening of government.

They would have us forget that, when COVID-19 shut down our economy, Susan Collins authored the Paycheck Protection Program, which helped more than three-quarters of Maine’s small businesses receive forgivable loans totaling more than $2.3 billion, enabling more than 28,000 Maine employers to preserve more than 250,000 Maine jobs.

Maine voters are being told that Susan Collins has changed. She has not. But politics has. In today’s hyper-partisan era, it is fashionable to launch blistering, negative attacks rather than seek common ground and consensus.

The out-of-state partisans pouring millions into defeating America’s most bipartisan senator don’t care about Maine’s legacy. They don’t care that Susan Collins is effective for Maine. They don’t care that she is in line to lead the Senate Appropriations Committee, with the enormous potential that holds for Maine.

Trading a thoughtful, powerful and bipartisan senator for a freshman back-bencher who votes the party line will do nothing to make Washington less partisan and more civil. And it will do nothing to make Maine more prosperous.

On Nov. 3, Maine voters can help put an end to the destructive chapter currently gripping America by rejecting the divisive partisan extremes on both sides. We can do that by voting for Joe Biden for president and Susan Collins for the U.S. Senate.


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