In 2016 I was a Maine delegate for Bernie Sanders. Four years later, I crossed the aisle and voted for Susan Collins in her bid to win re-election against Sara Gideon.

Sen. Collins took flack throughout President Donald Trump’s time in office from Maine Democrats. But her record is more nuanced, which she demonstrated when joining six Republicans colleagues in putting “country over party” with a vote to convict during impeachment.

Collins has also been willing to hold Democrats to account for bad behavior. Take the recent confirmation hearing for Julie Su, who is currently the labor secretary in California and was nominated by President Biden to be deputy secretary of labor. Over $11 billion in fraudulent unemployment insurance claims were paid out under Secretary Su’s watch, and Sen. Collins aggressively questioned Su on this failure. I relied on the unemployment insurance system in Maine during the pandemic, and the last thing we need is a high-ranking official at the labor department who does not understand how to get benefits into workers’ hands.

There are other issues near to me. As a worker who benefits from the tipping system and the tipped wage, it was heartening to see Collins (and Sen. Angus King) oppose legislation that would have eliminated it.

No politician is perfect. I cast a vote for Sen. Collins knowing that I did not agree with every one of her positions, and I would like to see her more forcefully advocate for legislation like the Equality Act. Still, I am glad I supported a senator who prioritizes results for Maine over ideology.

Joshua Chaisson

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