Sen. Susan Collins in National Spotlight With Trump Cabinet Nominee Votes - NECN
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Sen. Susan Collins in National Spotlight With Trump Cabinet Nominee Votes

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine is fielding a lot of calls after announcing her opposition to Donald Trump's pick for education secretary, Betsy DeVos. (Published Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017)

    Senator Susan Collins, a moderate Republican from Maine, is getting national attention, and pressure. She is seen by some as a potential swing vote against some of President Trump's controversial cabinet picks, and people from around the country have been calling her to try and influence her votes.

    "We are certainly getting a lot of calls and almost 90 percent of them are from out of state," Sen. Collins said in a written statement. "That's a little bit frustrating because I want to hear from Mainers on these nominations...unfortunately our phone lines are being jammed."

    Some constituents in Maine have complained about busy signals, or full voicemail boxes, when they try to call one of Senator Collins' offices.

    "Regardless of which office you call, the phone lines are jammed," said Sarah Lachance, trying to reach Sen. Collins to ask her to oppose Scott Pruitt as head of the EPA.

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    "Senator Collins is now something of an unusual Senator," said University of Southern Maine political science professor Ron Schdmit. He said in a "hyper-partisan" political climate, Senator Collins is one of the few "moderates" remaining who could potentially break from party-line votes.

    On Wednesday, she did. Collins announced she would break with her party, and vote against Trump's education nominee, Betsy DeVos.

    That gives some of her constituents hope -- that their unprecedented efforts to calls, visit, and contact the Senator -- can work.

    "There's a possibility of swaying her opinion in these situations," said Alex Steed, who has considered coordinating carpools to get constituents to Collins' offices, instead of having people make phone calls.

    "We're going to hit a point very soon where the volume of calls won't matter, because there will be so many," said Steed. "People need to actually be sure they're being heard."

    Senator Collins said she hopes people from out of state trying to contact her will use her website, instead of jamming phone lines at her offices.

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    She said Mainers have been trying to reach her to ask questions, especially about her proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act, but haven’t been able to get through.

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