Credit: George Danby

If you look around your home, office or any store, you’ll see the profound impact the trucking industry has on daily lives. Virtually every product you use and rely on is available because a truck brought it.

Trucking isn’t an easy job. I know, because I’ve made it my life’s work. As the owner of a third-generation, family-owned trucking company based in Bangor, I understand the challenges that small business owners across Maine grapple with every day in serving customers and meeting payroll.

And I’ve learned how important it is to have leaders in government who understand how policies can either help or hurt Maine’s economy and the availability of good-paying jobs across our state. Even more important is having representatives who know how to fight and how to get a job done.

I recently had the honor of serving for a one-year term as chairman of the American Trucking Associations, a role which allowed me to travel across America and meet with politicians of all stripes, including the president, congressional leaders and governors from all parts of the country. And in that time, I confirmed something I’ve long knew to be true: Maine is extremely fortunate to have Sen. Susan Collins representing us in Washington, D.C. — now more than ever.

Talk is cheap in Washington. There’s too much hot air and too little action. Lots of bickering and not enough legislating. There’s no doubt that these are volatile times in our nation’s politics. But to have an experienced legislator like Collins representing us — with the position, influence and seniority she carries — is invaluable and should not be taken for granted.

Truckers have a unique vantage point into how the economy works, because we provide an essential service to all other industries. Our customers are Maine’s paper mills and lobstermen, potato and blueberry farmers, hospitals and shipbuilders, loggers and shop owners, and anyone who has ever purchased an item in a store or online. As our trucks crisscross the state, we see firsthand the direct impact Collins has in improving the quality of life for Mainers.

Her seniority in Congress delivers benefits to our state that a freshman lawmaker otherwise could not. As the chairwoman of the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, she recently hosted the U.S. Secretary of Transportation in Yarmouth to unveil $61 million in federal grants to replace eight bridges in southern, western and northern Maine.

As Maine’s Department of Transportation Commissioner Bruce Van Note said at the event, “There is not a greater friend to transportation in Maine than Susan Collins.” Indeed, roads and bridges are bipartisan — we all drive on them, Democrats and Republicans alike.

After nearly 24 years of service, Collins is now in line to become the chairwoman of the entire Appropriations Committee — one of the most powerful positions in Congress responsible for directing the nation’s spending. Having high-caliber representatives in such high places in Washington has always enabled Maine to punch above its weight nationally. And to have the opportunity for a Mainer to serve as Appropriations chair is a token you do not trade away.

Truckers live by the values of hard work, duty and sacrifice, which is why I’m proud to be represented by a senator who reflects those same values. Holding elected office is a job, not a privilege. And no one in Congress works harder than Collins does. Since the first day she took office, she’s never missed a vote on the Senate floor — casting more than 7,000 consecutive votes.

Yet her door is always open and her office is always ready to assist anytime a need arises.

Collins delivers for Maine. We need her in Washington to help keep our trucks moving and Maine’s economy growing.

Barry Pottle is president and CEO of Pottle’s Transportation, a family-operated motor carrier based in Bangor. He is also the past chairman of the American Trucking Associations