Issues

Read Shenna's Plan: INVESTING IN MAINE’S WORKERS TO GET OUR ECONOMY WORKING AGAIN

What Matters Most

I grew up working class, and I understand the importance of good jobs and a strong economy. Republicans in Washington brought our economy to the brink of collapse, and the recovery has favored the largest corporations at the expense of our local communities. It’s time to focus government investment on our local economies again. The role of government is to facilitate, not stifle, entrepreneurship and economic growth. I’m proud to be endorsed by the Maine AFL-CIO, AFSCME Council 93 and many more labor organizations that care deeply about the future of working people in our state and our country.
Creating Jobs and Investing in the Future
We can create jobs and build a foundation for our long-term economic security by investing in infrastructure. Transportation is key for the growth of healthy business, and to that end, we need to invest in roads, bridges, rail and a modern public transportation system. We also need to invest in technology infrastructure to build our future economy. A lack of Internet and cell phone access impedes economic growth in our rural communities. We should have high-speed broadband Internet access in every corner of this country, and I will make that a top priority as Maine’s next Senator.
We should also invest in renewable energy – in solar, properly sited wind, tidal, geothermal, biodiesel and biomass – to reduce our domestic energy costs, confront climate change and create good-paying jobs. A modern transportation system, statewide Internet access, and a focus on the technologies and jobs of the future will mean a stable economy and a higher quality of life all over the state.
Helping Small Businesses
Investing in infrastructure creates the foundation for a strong economy, but we also need to support entrepreneurs and business owners. As Senator, I will advance access to capital for small and micro businesses to promote the next generation of entrepreneurs. Small businesses comprise 60% of Maine’s jobs, but too often, it is difficult or impossible for small business owners to access the capital they need to start up. I worked in microlending and small business development as a Peace Corps volunteer in Panama, and I will advocate for policies that make it easier for small businesses to get started and thrive in our communities. Our economic policies should allow for local flexibility and encourage microfinance initiatives, not just reward huge corporations for being huge.
Tax Fairness
We need to restore tax and regulatory fairness to our financial system. Current regulations and our tax structure serve as monopoly protection, benefiting the largest corporations at the expense of small businesses in our local communities. Large corporations often pay zero taxes while small businesses pay as much as 35%. That’s the opposite of a level playing field. If we’re going to have a real economic recovery, we have to stop sending money to Wall Street at Main Street’s expense. It’s time for overdue financial reforms, including a 21st-century Glass-Steagall Act to make sure banks help communities again instead of gambling with their money. I will not be afraid to stand up to powerful corporate interests on behalf of working Mainers, and I’ll be a strong advocate for tax fairness in the United States Senate.
Fair Pay for Hard Work
People who work full time should be able to provide for their families. I support a nationwide minimum wage increase to $10.10 an hour – a common-sense proposal that Republican Susan Collins joined with other Republicans to filibuster in April. Her vote against the minimum wage harmed approximately 96,000 Mainers who would have benefited from the increase. The positive economic multiplier effect of raising the minimum wage is significant. Money in the pockets of working class Mainers goes directly back into the economy as workers buy food and clothing for their families. It’s the right thing to do, and it will grow our local economies.
Working people deserve a strong voice in Washington, and I will always be an ally to workers. I support the right to organize including collective bargaining. I oppose right-to-work-for-less legislation.
Fair Trade, Not Corporate Giveaways
Too many jobs have been shipped overseas in the last two decades. We have witnessed firsthand the damage wrought to our manufacturing sector by bad trade deals like NAFTA. That’s why I oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership and fast-track authority for trade agreements. We are increasingly interconnected in a global economy. International trade is important to Maine’s economy, but international trade agreements must be fair trade agreements – protecting workers’ rights at home and abroad, protecting the environment for future generations and protecting consumer safety.
Some politicians like to think of the economy as just another issue. For me, the economy is every issue. Better economic policies in Washington can make the difference when you want to get an affordable education, pay your bills, start a family, get the job you want and retire on your own schedule. Investing in Maine’s economy can make those things possible for every Mainer, and that’s what I’m going to do from the first day I’m in Washington.
As head of the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine, my job was to advance and defend the Constitution and the Bill of Rights for all Maine people, and that’s what I will do in the United States Senate. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights unite us regardless of background, ideology and party. Washington has trampled on the Constitution over the last decade, and we need to restore trust in government with some checks and balances.
Repealing the Patriot Act
My first job at the ACLU was as a “Safe and Free” organizer working in 2003 to oppose the Patriot Act. It disturbed me then that only one Senator, Russ Feingold, voted no to the Patriot Act, and it disturbs me now that only one Senator, Rand Paul, is taking to the Senate floor to filibuster on drones. Abuses of power like the Patriot Act, REAL ID, the NDAA, NSA spying, and domestic drone surveillance threaten our democracy. When the government spies on its own people, we, the people, lose trust in our government. We can restore trust and a sense of community by restoring our constitutional freedoms.
In Maine, I led a coalition to pass groundbreaking privacy laws to require warrants before law enforcement accesses email or phone communications. As United States Senator, I will work with Republicans and Democrats alike to repeal the Patriot Act and restore checks and balances on government spying. I’m proud to have been called “the Elizabeth Warren of civil liberties,” and that’s exactly the kind of senator I intend to be.
Ending Our Drug War
I was the first US Senate candidate this cycle to support marijuana legalization. We need to end the war on drugs and reform our criminal justice system, and we cannot afford to wait. The United States incarcerates more people in total and more people per capita than any other country in the world, and the racial disparities are alarming. Our limited public resources would be much better spent investing in drug treatment facilities and community education in a regulated system that promotes community health and safety. Instead of spending billions on a prison industrial complex, we could invest those funds in education, prevention and rehabilitation. We should treat drug abuse as a public health issue rather than a criminal one.
Marriage Equality and Equal Protection
My commitment to civil liberties includes a passionate belief in the need for marriage equality all across the country. At the ACLU of Maine, I helped lead the Mainers United for Marriage campaign in 2012 to win the freedom to marry for gay and lesbian couples in Maine. All people deserve equal protection under the law, and we shouldn’t have to fight this out fifty times. I support a bill to extend full marriage equality and benefits to same-sex couples no matter what state they live in. I have proposed a national Human Rights Act, modeled on the Maine Human Rights Act, to extend non-discrimination protections to LGBTQ Americans in employment, housing, credit, public accommodation and educational opportunity. I’ll be a strong advocate for equality in the U.S. Senate.
Common-Sense Gun Policies
As a former member of the National Rifle Association, I believe in the Second Amendment, and I support bipartisan reforms that make gun ownership safer for all of us. I support background checks for example. I believe reasonable safety measures are congruent with our constitutional freedoms. We should no more sacrifice security for freedom than we should sacrifice freedom for security.
Protecting the Right to Vote
In 2011 I was on the frontlines of an unprecedented attack on Mainers’ voting rights – an attack that continues across the nation today. I led a successful coalition effort to defeat voter ID at the state level – twice. When Republican Gov. Paul LePage and his Republican allies in the state legislature eliminated same-day voter registration, I co-chaired the successful Protect Maine Votes referendum campaign to restore Mainers’ voting rights. The right to vote is fundamental to our democracy. As a senator I will always work to advance and defend voting rights. I will advocate for a nationwide Election Day registration program. We need to restore the protections of the Voting Rights Act, modernize our voter registration systems, prohibit voter caging and voter intimidation, and make it easier for all Americans to vote.
Getting Money Out of Politics
Upholding our democracy means more than protecting the vote – it means getting big money out of politics once and for all. Maine’s clean elections system has been an incredible catalyst for people from all walks of life to participate in government. Our state legislature, which includes farmers, small business owners, teachers and mill workers, is far more representative of the general public than Congress, where more than half the members are millionaires. The opportunity to serve in public office should never be limited to the wealthy few.
That’s why I support campaign finance reform and public funding of federal elections. I support small donor public financing based on the Brennan Center model and the immediate overturning of the disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision. Corporations are not people, and we must work together to limit the influence of big money in our elections and restore grassroots democracy.
Supporting Public Education
I wouldn’t be in this race if not for the good public education I received. Fully funding our schools, building new ones where they’re needed, and hiring more teachers will mean more opportunities for students to succeed no matter where they live or how much money their family earns. I oppose voucher programs that siphon public money to private or religious institutions that don’t level the playing field and often exclude the students who most need a chance at a young age. I also oppose the overly onerous new testing requirements mandated by the federal government. No Child Left Behind, supported by Republican Susan Collins, was a huge mistake. It’s time to invest in education at the local level again. Public schools helped build the intellectual foundation of this country, and they need to be supported.
Early Childhood Education
Key to our educational future and our economic future is investment in early childhood education. Research demonstrates that significant brain development occurs in the earliest years, and that children who attend school and enrichment programs early in life fare better financially and educationally later on. We should invest more thoroughly in universal early childhood education.
Student Loan Reform
I graduated with significant student loan debt in 1997, the year that Republican Susan Collins took office, but the average student loan debt burden was far lower then than it is today because the policies promoted by Republicans in Washington have favored the big banks over students and families. Today’s students face record-level debt burdens and exorbitant interest rates. We are mortgaging our country’s future. Republicans in Washington have obstructed efforts to fix the problem, and my opponent, Republican Susan Collins, has played along. In 2013 she voted against the Student Loan Affordability Act, a bill to limit interest rate increases. I would have supported that bill the day it was introduced, and I’ll be a reliable vote to fix student debt when I am in the United States Senate.
In Maine our economy and our natural environment are inextricably linked. In the last two decades, politicians in Washington have wrought an environmental crisis that threatens Maine’s economic future. Anyone who hunts or fishes, gardens or farms can tell you that Maine’s climate is changing. The consequences of climate change to our environment, public health and the economy are potentially catastrophic, and we should take advantage of opportunities to prevent it whenever we can.
Investing in Renewable Energy
We can confront climate change by investing in renewable energy sources like solar, properly sited wind, tidal, geothermal, biomass and biodiesel to guide us toward a nuclear-free, fossil-fuel free energy future. Maine, with our tremendous natural resources, can be a world leader in conservation and renewable energy. We can create jobs that leave a cleaner world for our children and a stronger economic foundation for generations to come.
Responsible Clean Air Standards
In addition to investing in renewable energy, we must pursue strong limits on carbon emissions. I support a reasonable carbon tax to reduce highly polluting emissions, and I would reinvest the proceeds in energy efficiency, weatherization, and sustainable energy technologies to clean up our atmosphere and create jobs at the same time. Republican Susan Collins sponsored a controversial measure to gut the Clean Air Act. Instead of voting to prevent big corporations from acting responsibly, Maine leaders should support forward-looking projects that help the environment and put us on a sound economic footing.
Sustainable Agriculture and GMO Labeling
We can protect the environment and the economy by supporting sustainable and organic local agriculture and enforcing strong GMO labeling standards. We should not let big agribusiness take over our land and water for short-term profits, and as a senator I’ll always stand up for the family farm over Monsanto or Dow Chemical.
A Clean Water Supply
One of the best ways to support family farms is to maintain our clean water supply. I’ll be a strong advocate for environmental protection and cleanup measures. Last year Susan Collins voted for a Republican proposal to block EPA and Army Corps of Engineers efforts to protect waterways that supply public drinking water to 117 million Americans. I would have joined Angus King in voting against that measure. The Clean Water Act is one of the landmark achievements of the environmental movement, and as a Senator I’d work to extend its protections instead of chipping away at them.
I Oppose Keystone and Tar Sands Exploitation
True environmental leaders stand up for conservation rather than drilling and mining interests. That’s why I oppose the Keystone XL pipeline and other dirty tar sands projects. Republican Susan Collins voted in 2012 to approve Keystone outright. She won’t stand up to the proposed Portland Montreal Pipeline reversal, which would put one of Maine’s most ecologically sensitive and important lakes at risk of tar sands contamination. I agree with the rest of our Maine congressional delegation that we need a new permitting process and full environmental review before any of Maine’s resources are put at risk.
Confronting the ISIS Threat & Military Involvement in Iraq and Syria

I am opposed to sending American ground troops in to fight in Iraq. We have been down this road before at great cost to our country without lasting security benefits. We need to be very thoughtful about what’s in the best interest of the American public and pause carefully before spending billions of dollars more on wars we cannot afford that make us less safe.  I have serious concerns about the lack of Congressional oversight in this process and the seeming rush to war. 

What’s happening in Syria and Iraq is a sectarian civil war whose history is rooted in deep religious conflicts that are centuries old. ISIS, also known as ISIL or the Islamic State, did not exist in its current form before we invaded Iraq. Instead, it is one of the many unforeseen consequences of rushing into a war without sufficient caution or consideration. That’s why I have deep concerns about the strategy to arm Syrian rebels whose interests and goals are not entirely aligned with ours. Without more information and oversight, in trying to defeat the ISIS of today, we may be enabling the conditions that would create the ISIS of tomorrow. I would have voted "no" on the recent resolution to arm and train Syrian rebels. We must stop fueling future conflicts.

We must be more strategic in our foreign policy.  The war in Iraq, which Susan Collins voted for, cost us thousands of American lives and more than $1 trillion that we could have invested at home. Today, we see more chaos in the region than before. Ongoing military intervention will not solve problems that have been exacerbated by the war over the last decade.

Instead of rushing to war, we should confront the ISIS threat as a global community, working in coalition with regional partners. Our allies in the Middle East have far more at stake in this crisis, yet we have not demanded they take a stronger leadership role in solving it. Long-term peace and stability in the region requires that the governments most impacted by the cycle of violence take an active role in confronting it.

We need to be more targeted in our response to terrorist groups like ISIS. There is no question that ISIS is barbaric and dangerous, but there is a serious question about how we best defeat them. President Obama demonstrated that he was able to kill Osama Bin Laden and weaken the Al Qaeda leadership with an elite team of special forces, accomplishing in a targeted way what President Bush had failed to do by invading Iraq and sending more than one hundred thousand American troops into harm’s way. An important tactic in defeating radical groups is defeating their leadership. Our special forces may be able to target the ISIS leadership, which would be preferable to arming potential enemies in Syria and engaging in blanket air strikes that may kill as many civilians as terrorists or lead to another costly ground war.

Conflicts like this cannot be resolved with American military force alone, and unfortunately, we have learned over the last decade that too often we do not have full information about the nature of the threats we face. We cannot afford to be the world’s military policeman. Lasting peace and security worldwide depends upon a more targeted, strategic and agile approach to our foreign policy.

Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
I opposed the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which cost us too many lives and more than $4 trillion in taxpayer dollars that could have been invested here at home in education and the economy. I firmly believe that we must never again go to war and leave our grandchildren to foot the bill. We must exhaust all possible diplomatic options before committing to war, and if military action is truly necessary, we must pay for it as we go instead of indefinitely running up our national credit card bill.
Opposing War, Using Diplomacy
We can no longer afford to be the world’s lone policeman, and it’s a role we should never have played. We have squandered the substantial good will we earned in the postwar era through one disastrous military intervention after another, and it’s time we changed course. We need to focus on diplomacy and development to advance our interests abroad. We must recommit ourselves to advancing human rights and facilitating peaceful solutions to international conflict.

In Washington, I will advocate for peaceful and humanitarian solutions to international conflict where possible. I will work to I will support United Nations conventions against torture and in support of women and the rights of children, and I will always stand for the rule of law.
My Experience
I served in the Peace Corps from 1999 to 2001 as a small business volunteer in Panama. I helped launch a micro-lending program for artisans, started a Junior Achievement entrepreneurship program at a local high school, and was president of Women In Development/Gender and Development, a group dedicated to advancing economic and educational opportunities for women and girls. I saw firsthand how investments in economic development – particularly international health, micro-lending and women’s development projects – can promote international security.
I Support Universal Health Coverage
My mother went back to school to become a nurse, and I’ve seen up close how much good we can do in Maine when we expand healthcare coverage. I support universal access to affordable healthcare for all Americans including acute, chronic, preventative, and long-term care. The Affordable Care Act is an important first step toward universal coverage, but it needs to be improved to expand coverage to all people and simplify the process for signing up.
Protecting Patients and Ending the Repeal Debate
Republican Susan Collins voted against the Affordable Care Act and continues to call for full repeal of the law years after it became law – without offering a replacement solution. We should keep the Affordable Care Act’s patient protections in place and simplify the process for signing up for coverage. Every American eligible for health coverage should be able to obtain it simply and affordably. Going back to the days before the Affordable Care Act, as Susan Collins demands we do, would move us backward instead of getting us closer to universal access.
Expanding Medicare and Medicaid
One way to expand healthcare access is to strengthen and expand Medicare and Medicaid in a fiscally responsible way. The federal government should be negotiating drug prices directly with pharmaceutical companies, which would reduce costs for patients and save us billions of taxpayer dollars a year that now pad Big Pharma’s bottom line. As the Bangor Daily News wrote in a 2013 editorial, “[I]n 2003 Congress prohibited Medicare from negotiating drug prices. So unlike comparable programs, this huge market has never been subjected to hard bargaining. Consequently, Medicare pays more for pharmaceuticals than any large purchaser. It’s time to change that.” I completely agree, and it’s time Maine had a Senator who took proactive steps to make it happen.
I believe we need to strengthen and expand Social Security benefits for our seniors. About a third of Maine’s seniors are living solely on Social Security, and the current benefits are not covering their cost of living. Hunger is a growing problem among Maine seniors. In the twenty-first century, there’s no reason for retirees to go hungry to protect the very wealthy.
Eliminating the Social Security Tax Break for the Very Wealthy
Social Security is funded by an outdated system that caps taxpayer contributions to a percentage of the first $117,000 they earn. That means millionaires and even billionaires pay the same amount into Social Security as someone who makes . . . $117,000 a year. Nobody thinks it’s fair, everybody knows it has to change – and Congress hasn’t done anything about it. I support a solution called “Scrap the Cap” that eliminates the taxable cap and makes sure the highest-paid Americans pay their fair share. This is the fiscally responsible way to expand Social Security benefits.
Expanding Benefits to Meet People's Needs
I am passionate about strengthening and expanding Social Security benefits for our seniors and future generations.  About a third of Maine’s seniors are living solely on Social Security, and the current benefits are not covering their cost of living. Hunger is a growing problem among Maine seniors. In the twenty-first century, there’s no reason for retirees to go hungry to protect the very wealthy.

I support legislation that would expand Social Security benefits like the “Strengthening Social Security Act of 2013 and the RAISE Act, which helps widows, widowers, divorcees and the children of deceased disability benefit recipients. Benefits should be linked with a more realistic Consumer Price Index for Elderly Consumers that takes into account the high costs seniors face with healthcare and housing.  We need to ensure meaningful cost of living increases.

With corporations cutting worker pensions, Social Security benefits are more important than ever. We can’t cut our way to prosperity. As Maine’s next U.S. Senator, I will stand up for seniors to strengthen Social Security benefits, not cut them.
More Cuts Won’t Work
My opponent, Republican Susan Collins, has voted multiple times to cut Social Security benefits. She voted against including a $250 benefit check to Social Security recipients as part of the Recovery Act. In 2011 she voted for a radical Republican budget that would have cut $624 million from the Social Security Administration and caused staff furloughs - a measure that thankfully failed when the Democratic Senate majority said no. That same year she voted against ending debate on an even more extreme plan that, as the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities said in a legislative analysis, “would inexorably subject Social Security and Medicare to deep reductions.”
 
I strongly oppose privatization of Social Security and proposals like means testing or raising the retirement age that would undermine the fundamental promise of Social Security.
Strengthening Medicare
My mother is a home healthcare nurse, and I have learned a lot from her about the challenges and opportunities in our healthcare system. I believe that healthcare is a human right, and I support universal healthcare access for all Americans at every stage of life. Medicare, in its 50th anniversary, has demonstrated that we can provide universal, affordable coverage that preserves patient choice and reduces administrative costs. I support expansion of Medicare to cover all Americans in a universal, single-payer healthcare system that lowers costs and allows for more effective medical fraud prevention.

To strengthen our existing Medicare system, we should allow Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices with pharmaceutical companies to reduce costs. I support strengthening the benefits provided for long-term care to allow seniors to stay in their homes and receive quality care that is lower cost in the long run than institutionalized care. I will always stand up for the provisions of Medicare that make it so successful including preservation of patient choice to use the doctors they trust and coverage of a broad set of defined benefits.
Civil & Economic Rights for Seniors
As a civil rights leader with the American Civil Liberties Union, I have been a longtime advocate for ending discrimination, including age-based discrimination, in employment, housing and education. I was proud to partner with the AARP to successfully oppose a voter ID in Maine, and I will be a leader on voting rights at the national level to ensure that seniors are not denied their constitutional right to vote.

At the ACLU I also advocated for family medical leave policies that included caregivers, and I will advocate for policies at the federal level that support paid leave for caregivers. I will also support expansion of health insurance coverage to provide comprehensive coverage for long-term care, so that we can lower costs and preserve quality care for seniors and people with disabilities in their homes.

Seniors have so much to give to our communities, and as U.S. Senator, I will support job training programs like the AARP Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) to help adults 55 and older get the job training and assistance they need to find good work. I will work to strengthen and expand intergenerational engagement in our communities through support for the Corporation for National Service and programs like Senior Corps, ENcorps and RSVP. As an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer, I saw firsthand how paid volunteer service benefits communities in need. As a VISTA volunteer I worked to create incentives for saving, including individual development accounts for youth, and I will support legislation that makes it easier for families to save for their retirement. We can grow our economy and promote financial independence for our seniors by expanding employment, training and savings opportunities for our seniors.

At the same time, we must be sure to support the social safety net that protects our most vulnerable seniors. I will be a strong advocate for expansion of SNAP, commonly referred to as food stamps, and federal funding for food and heating assistance programs that protect our friends and neighbors.

I will always be a strong advocate for civil rights and economic security for Maine’s seniors today and for generations to come.

The people of Maine know what we need: expanded Social Security benefits funded by the very wealthy paying their fair share. That’s going to take stronger leadership for retirees and Social Security recipients, and that’s what I’ll provide as your next Senator.
My grandfather is a WWII veteran, and I will always stand up for veterans who risk their lives to serve our country. We have a solemn responsibility to take care of our veterans after they come home.
Increasing Eligibility Awareness
Maine is home to approximately 150,000 veterans and their families, and whether they’re retired or pursuing other careers, they deserve the full benefits they’ve earned. As McClatchy Newspapers reported in 2012, 59 percent of U.S. veterans say they understand their eligibility for benefits “a little” or “not at all.” Maine needs stronger outreach programs to reach eligible veterans and inform them of their rights, especially if they fought in wars prior to Iraq and Afghanistan when soldier services were more limited. We also need health care that includes full mental health benefits, which is why I support including them in all TRICARE plans.
Government Shutdowns and Austerity Budgets Hurt Veterans
Our veterans also deserve to know their elected leaders won’t sacrifice their interests for political reasons. The 2013 shutdown, which my opponent Republican Susan Collins voted for twice, meant 56 layoffs for Maine employees at the Department of Health and Human Services, dozens of VA furloughs, and multiple Veterans Benefits Administration office closures until the shutdown ended. Veterans’ lives were disrupted because Senate Republicans preferred to shut down the government rather than work with Democrats to find common ground. It should never have happened, and I would have done everything I could as a Senator to prevent it.
As a leader in the Maine Choice Coalition and the Coalition for Maine Women, I have been a long-time advocate for women’s civil rights and access to healthcare. Women should have the freedom to make their own healthcare decisions in consultation with their doctor free from governmental interference.
Reproductive Freedom
I strongly believe in a woman’s right to make her own decisions about whether and when to have a family. I have been a longtime advocate of keeping abortion safe and legal, and I will vote against abortion restrictions.
Access to Birth Control is a Right
I also strongly agree with the vast majority of American women in supporting access to birth control. Republican Susan Collins voted in 2010 for the so-called Blunt Amendment, which would have allowed employers to deny women access to contraception based on the employer’s personal religious views. Women, not the government and certainly not their boss, should make their decisions about contraception. Support for family planning is the pro-women, pro-family position. That’s why I was proud to stand in front of the Supreme Court earlier this year to speak out during the Hobby Lobby case hearing. That ruling by an activist conservative majority opened the door to companies across the country deciding which laws they do and don’t feel like following, and it should be overturned. Using women’s reproductive freedom as a test case for a radical reading of the Constitution is wrong for Mainers and wrong for the United States.
Paycheck Fairness
Whenever someone asks why women’s rights are a political issue, it’s good to remind them that women are still paid an average of 77 cents for every dollar a man is paid – and that number is lower if you’re African American or Hispanic. I strongly support the Paycheck Fairness Act, which makes it easier for women to discuss pay disparities at work and holds employers accountable for wage differences between men and women. My opponent, Republican Susan Collins, voted against equal pay for equal work when she joined the Senate Republicans in filibustering the bill earlier this year.

As your senator I’ll always tell you up front where I stand on reproductive freedom, paycheck equality and other important women’s issues – before the vote happens. I look forward to working with advocates and women to advance women’s health and women’s rights.  
 
I support investing more resources in preventing and enforcing sexual violence on campuses. I am also in favor of federal legislation mandating paid sick leave, as well as amending the Constitution to guarantee equal rights for men and women.

ON THE ISSUES: the differences between Shenna Bellows & Susan Collins

 

 
Shenna BellowsSHENNA BELLOWS

 
DEMOCRAT
 
 
 
 
Susan CollinsSUSAN COLLINS

 
REPUBLICAN
 
 
 
 
CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM    
DISCLOSE Act Shenna supports the DISCLOSE Act and endorsed it when it was reintroduced earlier this year. The bill would make sure big political contributions are publicly disclosed in a timely way to increase transparency. Republican Susan Collins voted to block the DISCLOSE Act twice in 2010 -- including one instance where the bill failed by a single vote -- and again in 2012.
Udall Amendment to Overturn Citizens United
Shenna supports a targeted Constitutional amendment to allow overturn Citizens United, allow Congress and state legislators to regulate money in politics and restore balance to our electoral system. Republican Susan Collins voted to filibuster the Udall Amendment in September.
     
     
CIVIL LIBERTIES    
USA Patriot Act Shenna started her ACLU career organizing a national campaign to fix the Patriot Act. As former Executive Director of the ACLU of Maine, Shenna advocates for repeal of the Patriot Act. Republican Susan Collins voted for the Patriot Act originally and has since voted to renew the legislation every time it has come before Congress.
NSA Spying Shenna opposes the warrantless NSA spying program and has called for checks and balances to require the NSA to secure a warrant before accessing Americans’ cell phone or email communications. Republican Susan Collins has voted to legalize NSA spying program multiple times and has publicly stated that the program is “fair.”

Freedom to Marry for Same-Sex Couples

Shenna was a leader in the campaign for the freedom to marry in Maine for seven years. She and her husband waited to marry until her gay and lesbian friends in Maine could legally marry. Republican Susan Collins declined to support the marriage equality campaign. It was not until this election year in June that she publicly announced her support for marriage equality.
     
     
ECONOMIC FAIRNESS    

Raising the Minimum Wage

Shenna supports raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour because working families deserve to earn enough money to care for their families. Republican Susan Collins opposes raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. She voted with the Republicans to block the minimum wage bill from coming to a vote in April 2014.

Trans-Pacific Partnership

Shenna opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership and fast-track authority. She advocates for fair trade that includes strong labor and environmental standards. Republican Susan Collins has not revealed a position on the TPP. In 1997, she voted in favor of fast-track authority.
     
     
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION    

Keystone XL Pipeline

Shenna opposes the Keystone Pipeline as well as reversing the Portland pipeline to transport tar sands. Republican Susan Collins has voted in favor of the Keystone Pipeline twice. She is the only member of the Maine delegation who has declined to take a position on the Portland pipeline and tar sands.

Toxic Chemicals

Shenna strongly supports a national Kids Safe Products Act, modeled on Maine’s law. Republican Susan Collins cosponsored legislation drafted by the chemical industry that would prevent states from having stronger restrictions than federal laws, pre-empting the Maine Kid Safe Products Act.
GMO Labeling Shenna supports GMO labeling. Republican Susan Collins voted against legislation that would have required national GMO labeling.
Clean Air Shenna supports the Obama administration limits on carbon emissions. She is a strong advocate for clean air protections. Republican Susan Collins has a mixed record. In the past, she has voted to block EPA authority to regulate carbon emissions. She has remained silent on the Obama Administration carbon emissions regulations.

 

   
VETERANS    
 Bernie Sanders Veterans Benefits Bill (S.1982) Shenna supported S. 1982, which expanded veterans' healthcare programs, offered veterans in-state tuition rates for higher education, provided advanced appropriations for the Department of Veterans Affairs and permanently fixed a cut to the growth rate of veterans' pensions. Republican Susan Collins voted against S.1982 when it came before the Senate in February. The American Legion called the vote "inexcusable."
     
     
WOMEN'S RIGHTS    

Paycheck Fairness Act
(equal pay for equal work)

As a leader of the Maine Women’s Coalition, Shenna has advocated for ending pay discrimination for years. Republican Susan Collins voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act, along with other Republicans whose votes collectively blocked the bill from moving forward.

Access to Birth Control

Shenna led the defeat of anti-contraception bills in the Maine State Legislature as a leader in the Maine Choice Coalition. She believes that neither your boss nor the government should interfere in your personal decisions about whether or when to use birth control and strongly opposes the recent Supreme Court ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby. Republican Susan Collins has a mixed record. She has voted for numerous budget bills that would have defunded family planning clinics and Planned Parenthood. She also voted in favor of the anti-contraception Blunt Amendment, which would have allowed employers to deny women access to birth control coverage or any healthcare service based on personal religious beliefs of the employer. In July of this election year, she changed her position on the issue of whether private corporations can deny women birth control but maintains that non-profits should be able to do so.
 Abortion Shenna is a staunch advocate for abortion rights. As a leader in the Maine Choice Coalition, Shenna has led successful lobbying efforts to defeat multiple anti-abortion bills in Maine. Republican Susan Collins has a mixed record. She voted for the antiabortion “Unborn Victims of Violence Act." She voted to defund family planning.