A question about Susan Collins
Since 1997, Sen. Susan Collins has done her bit for Maine and the country.
She has championed defense contracts worth billions of dollars to Bath Iron Works, appropriated emergency equipment for rural first-responders after 9/11, squashed the repeal of the Affordable Care Act thereby saving health care access for thousands of Mainers and never missed a Senate vote.
Agree or disagree with her, Collins seems to have done what she thought was in the best interests for the state of Maine and the country, all while walking the fine line of a well-informed, self-described “moderate.”
Within the last three years, however, Mainers are seeing a different side of the senator: comprising her moderate stature and partnering with Sens. Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham to raise campaign contributions; voting in favor of a very polarizing Supreme Court nominee while essentially dismissing Dr. Chistine Blasey Ford’s sworn testimony in a well-staged, photo-op speech on the U.S. Senate floor; and, finally, voting in favor of a tax cut for that benefited corporations and the wealthy 1 percent more than the “hard-working” Americans so fervently championed by her own party.
The political landscape has greatly changed since Collins first got elected in 1996. But for any constituent thinking of the election next year, one may question: Is this the same person devoted to the values and principles she first espoused back then? Or have the political times transformed this public servant to an unrecognizable politician? Perhaps Collins should ask the same question.
Don’t let solar tax credit sunset
Of all the federal programs, one is working exactly as designed: the investment tax credit for solar, which is creating jobs and energy independence while lowering energy costs for Mainers.
But this crucial incentive for renewable energy is about to be phased out. Today approximately 250,000 Americans are employed in the solar industry, more than double from just a decade ago. These are good jobs with solid pay and benefits, in positions that can’t be sent off shore because they’re constructing clean energy projects in our communities across America.
I know because I work at ReVision Energy alongside 400 other Mainers in the solar industry. We our jobs to this important sector that is reducing costs while addressing the harmful impact of burning fossil fuels.
A big driver of this American success story is the federal support. Our government has a long history of supporting industries deemed important. That’s why every year, billions in subsidies go to benefit coal, oil and gas corporations. Those incentives for carbon-based fuels roll along year after year uninterrupted now for 100 years, yet oddly, federal support for clean energy begins sunsetting Jan. 1 and ends entirely for homeowners in 2022.
There’s a move in Congress to extend the federal investment tax credit for solar. This policy has helped solar energy become one of America’s fastest growing industries — providing good jobs and strengthening communities as strong action against climate damage. Now is not the time to put the breaks on clean energy. Ask your senators and congressmen to support the solar investment tax credit to keep a great thing going.
Senators should do the right thing
Soon the House of Representatives will vote on articles of impeachment. The vote will almost certainly pass, likely along party lines, and this will require the Senate to hold a hearing on the charges.
It is widely expected that the Senate will vote along party lines and determine that the charges do not warrant removing President Donald Trump from office.
It is difficult for me to believe that U.S. senators, people who have given their lives to public service and have sworn an oath to defend the Constitution, would vote to acquit. This president withheld hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to an ally — one currently involved in a shooting war with Russia, and this was apparently done for political benefit.
It is not credible to me that Trump held up aid due to general concerns about corruption. After all, he fired, and smeared, the former ambassador to Ukraine — a respected diplomat who was working effectively on reducing corruption. It doesn’t matter whether there was a “quid pro quo.” It is illegal to seek or accept help from a foreign government for an election. U.S. senators are going to decide that this is OK? The executive branch defies congressional subpoenas. Is that OK with the senators? Potential obstruction of justice, witness intimidation, whistleblower intimidation. No problem?
I spent most of my career in elementary schools. We taught kids to do the right thing, even when it’s hard. Senators should do the same.