Angry voters across the country have been packing town halls, turning up the heat on members of Congress. But in Maine, Sen. Susan Collins has declined to host such a meeting, and constituents are having trouble reaching her on the phone.
The Republican says she prefers small groups and one-on-one meetings with constituents.
“Everybody gets a chance to speak,” said Collins. “It’s not the loudest voice who dominates the meeting.”
Constituents have complained that her phone lines are jammed and emails go unreturned — so they’ve asked multiple times to have a town hall with Collins instead.
“It’s about responsibility to constituents. There’s an access issue,” said Marie Follayttar Smith, from the group Mainers for Accountable Leadership.
Follayttar Smith said voters will still attend town halls, even if Collins won’t. She helped organize “Open Air Town Halls” in Bangor, Lewiston, and Portland Wednesday afternoon.
Hundreds attended the event at Portland City Hall, bringing signs, concerns and questions they’d like to pose to their senator.
“Our health care is being taken away,” said Judy Bullard. “I feel she needs to be showing up for the people.”
Scott Murray said he wants Collins to answer for her cabinet votes. He called her lack of town halls “cowardly.”
Collins is encouraging anyone with questions or concerns to contact her through her website.