Numerous questions intended for Senator Susan Collins (R) found their way to an empty chair instead – a chair reserved for her should she accept an invitation issued to her through her staff by Connie Garber last week to attend a Portland Town Hall meeting while the Senate is on its summer break.
A Town Hall meeting with constituents is a time-honored tradition, – where constituents can ask all manner of questions – except for Collins. Collins was a ‘no-show’ again and no policy wonk from her staff showed up either. (Maybe Trump is her policy wonk and he was busy lying tonight).
But that empty chair did not prevent the packed Rines Auditorium at the Portland Public Library from asking questions they would like the Senator to answer. Willy Ritch, former press secretary for Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D) and an organizer of 16 Counties Coalition, the host of the event tonight, fielded the questions from the podium. They went like this:
Susie asked the empty chair: “Why do you overlook the expertise of Maine experts over your wealthy donors?” Silence. Adam asked: “Why do you accept contributions from opioid makers? Why not return the money? Silence.
Julie McDonald, a MD from the Augusta/Bangor area answered: “We’ve all been taken for a wild ride by these companies, including the doctors. Not since the AIDS epidemic have we seen anything like this. Treatment can fix these broken lives. We should expand health care, not restrict it,” she said.
Steve saw Collins on a plane trip from the Antartica and wanted to ask her about climate change, but was unable to do so. David said he was disappointed that the Senator did not attend the Town Hall – to much laughter. “Why vote for a tax plan that could throw millions off the Affordable Health Care? Silence.
Dr. McDonald told the empty chair that most of our treatment occurs because of “adverse childhood events. Children do not belong in cages.” The chair remained silent, but there was thunderous applause from the crowd on Trump’s policy on the southern border. She said she was afraid of loosing ACA, but what really frightens her more is the court overturning Roe vs. Wade.
Kelly asked the empty chair why Collins visited billionaire Leonardo Leo at his mansion in Southwest Harbor at a recent fundraiser and nary a site of her in a public place in Portland? Leo is the executive vice president of the extremely conservative Federalist Party who shepherded Kavanaugh and others to the Supreme Court. Silence. How much do you think Leo bought Collins’ judicial votes for?
Ron Schaible a well-known community activist asked the empty chair: “Is Israel a fully democratic state? Only people of the Jewish faith can buy land. Would you want only Christians to buy land here?”
Ritch concluded the Town Hall by saying: “Senator, we need a little more of your time. We can’t depend on bumping into you on airplanes or by accident in the Old Port.”
That reminds me: This blogger did not see the Portland Press Herald or the Bangor Daily News. Did you?
You can call her Washington, D.C. office number at (202) 335-3371 and leave a message for the Senator on your views on her job performance. This blogger did just that and got a recorded message rather than a real live person. Collins has taken $5 million from corporate donations. Please ask her to choose Maine voters over big corporations!
note: These questions and a video of the Town Hall will be delivered to the Senator soon.
Please visit post herein dated August 17, 2019 for information on how her prospects for a successful re-election bid next year are growing “dimmer.”