U.S. Sen. Susan Collins visits workers at the U.S. Postal Service's Eastern Maine Processing and Distribution Center in Hampden on Wednesday to thank them. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik

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The COVID-19 outbreak has hit Mainers hard. Families, workers and business owners are all facing a tremendous amount of uncertainty, and many are struggling to make ends meet. These are dire times in our state, and we are all relying on our elected officials to put forward a plan that will help us effectively navigate through this pandemic while mitigating any negative impact our response will have on our economy or the health of our neighbors.

While there are many “unknowns” with regard to how the road ahead will look for Maine and for our country, I know one thing for certain: We need a senator in Washington who can be trusted to put politics aside during this pandemic so we can rebuild our economy and move our nation forward.

That senator is Susan Collins.

[Our COVID-19 tracker contains the most recent information on Maine cases by county]

Whether it’s in her official capacity or through her campaign, Collins has gone above and beyond to assist workers, families and business owners in need of support during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Washington, Collins sponsored the Keeping American Workers Paid and Employed Act, which created the Paycheck Protection Program. Since the program began last month, Collins has already secured a total of $2.55 billion in federal funding to assist 25,695 small employers in Maine. She has also secured $300 million to assist workers and businesses in our nation’s fisheries, as well as working to ensure VA benefits recipients can receive their economic impact payments automatically.

Here in Maine, Collins and her campaign staff have been delivering groceries, volunteering with local agencies on aging and ensuring small-business owners have access to important resources related to the Paycheck Protection Program. Collins herself even made a personal donation to supply more than 500 New Balance masks to first responders battling this pandemic on the frontlines.

Collins and her staff are leading by example — just as they always have, and always will.

We run a third-generation family business that supplies packaging for a multitude of small businesses all over Northern New England, all of us at Volk Packaging tremendously appreciate her leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic.

I know I am not alone. While many politicians in Washington are more interested in leveraging their leadership positions on committees to raise money or grab headlines, Collins is not among them — nor has she ever been.

The status quo in Washington has crippled both Congress and the Senate with partisan gridlock and division. But time and time again, Collins has proven to rise above the petty politics, partisan obstruction and flat-out resistance in the Senate to deliver for Maine.

We need to be working hard to keep senators like Collins in Washington — not replacing them with politicians who supported more than $150 million in higher taxes and fees. Not to mention, higher taxes on food, lodging, fuel and energy. Those policies will only make things worse for Mainers.

So when you head to the polls in November, I hope you will join me in supporting the one candidate who has a record of making things better.

The candidate who has been fighting to put more money in the hands of small-business owners and Maine families.

The candidate who is working across party lines to rebuild our roads, bridges and airports so Maine will be a better place to live and raise a family.

The candidate who has always led by example and never failed to represent our values with honor.

That candidate is Collins — and during these dire economic times, she is the one candidate we can trust to make sure we recover, and move forward, stronger than ever before.

Amy Volk of Saco is the director of communications and public relations at Volk Packaging Corporation and a former state senator.