Protecting Our Democracy


When I was governor of Maine, I used to have a standing bet with my colleague Governor Jesse Ventura in Minnesota about which state would have the highest turnout. We thought that was the whole idea – to get more Americans participating in our democratic process. 

Unfortunately, many elected officials are taking a different approach today. States across the country are advancing (or passing) legislation designed to undercut the fundamental right to vote for millions of Americans. We must act now to protect our democracy – which is why I joined a group of my colleagues to introduce the Freedom to Vote Act.

Our bill would set commonsense minimum standards to ensure that no state infringes upon its citizens’ right to vote and confront widespread anti-democratic practices such as partisan gerrymandering and dark money spending. The legislation incorporates many crucial reforms from prior bills, while also reflecting feedback and changes that state and local election officials have suggested in recent months to ensure smooth administration of elections on the local level. Our goal is simple: we believe that voters should choose their elected officials, not the other way around. 

Any threat to the democratic process is a threat to democracy itself. Free, fair and open elections are the backbone of our national commitment to government of the people, by the people, and for the people – and through this legislation, we will do our part to pass this experiment in self-government on to the next generation of Americans.

You can hear more about this bill, and my full thoughts on the importance of defending voting rights in this interview with Nicolle Wallace or in this interview with Andrea Mitchell

The American Rescue Plan - Making A Difference For Maine


The American Rescue Plan (ARP) passed the Senate in March by a vote of 50-49 – and in the months since, Maine people have begun to see and experience its benefits. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact our public health and economy, this historic relief bill has bolstered our healthcare infrastructure, made historic investments in affordable, high speed broadband, and provided critical support for families and businesses that are still struggling to make ends meet. 

The ARP included essential funding to address the ongoing public health emergency and gave us the resources we needed to vaccinate more people across Maine and the nation. It invested $160 billion into the fight against coronavirus – to speed vaccine deployment, improve our public health system, increase access to testing, and support other essential healthcare priorities.

In Maine, this has meant $41 million in funding for local Maine health centers, $11 million to build infrastructure for community health centers, nearly $1 million to improve testing in Maine’s at-risk communities, and $41 million in funding to improve Maine's health system. And there is more to come.

Another lesson that the COVID-19 pandemic made clear as day: a high-speed, affordable broadband connection is fundamental to participating in 21st century life – whether that’s for distance learning, telehealth or simply working from home. That is why I pushed hard to include broadband funding in the Senate’s American Rescue Plan, successfully negotiating to include $10 billion for broadband deployment in the final legislation. These efforts paid off – as a result, Maine will receive more than $128 million in ARP grants to expand broadband access. In addition to this funding for the state, each of Maine’s five tribes will receive $167,000 in funding, and 23 Maine schools will receive a total of $1.6 million to shrink the digital divide

These provisions are vital lifelines amidst this crisis – and they are only the beginning of the legislation's impact. The American Rescue Plan has also delivered Maine:

I was proud to vote for this historic aid package, and I’m glad to see that the legislation continues to meet the needs of Maine people during this important moment. 

Recognizing the 20th Anniversary of 9/11

This month marked twenty years since the horrific attacks of September 11th that claimed the lives of nearly 3,000 people, and the horrors of that day still remain seared in the memories of so many Americans. I can recall clear as day my moment of realization that the first plane crashing into the tower was an attack, not an accident. I will never forget the fear and uncertainty of wondering which target was next. I remember the pit of despair upon learning that my son, who worked near the World Trade Center, was missing; I remember the relief and joy I felt upon learning that he was safe; and I remember the heartbreak of knowing that thousands of families across America would not receive the same good news.

The victims of these attacks were everyday people, guilty of no crime other than going about their daily business in the wrong place at the wrong time. They were the victims of an evil few, who sacrificed innocent lives in an effort to attack America’s values. But they had a larger goal in mind on that day – to intimidate each and every American, and drive us apart from one another. On that front, they failed mightily – because in the painful days that followed, the best of America shone through the darkness.

We saw our heroic first responders rushing towards burning buildings to save lives – including many who traveled from far and wide to aid their fellow citizens during a time of need. We saw resilience, defiance, and unity as Americans chose bravery over fear and love over hatred. In the face of unknown peril, we embraced the ideals that make our nation so special. We also saw the true tolerance of America in action, as our President visited a Mosque and made clear to the rest of the world that our nation’s diversity is our strength, and we knew terrorists were not religious martyrs – but evil murderers. Our unified message today, as it was then, is that we will remain vigilant and relentless in pursuing those who would try to follow in their footsteps or enable them to do our nation harm.

Twenty years later, we’re in the midst of another crisis – this time, a public health pandemic. Unfortunately, at this juncture, it seems that our nation’s divisions have been inflamed rather than set aside; instead of pulling us together, this pandemic has too often pushed us apart. On this solemn day, as we remind ourselves to “never forget” the events of September 11th, we must also remind ourselves how we responded – with solidarity, resilience, desire to understand, and kindness for the health and well-being of our neighbors. We knew, deep down, that none of our differences meant more than our shared identity as Americans. As we remember those that we lost on this tragic day, let us honor them by recommitting ourselves to the values they cherished and devoting ourselves to examining how to protect one another from another global threat.

A Job I've Been Preparing For My Whole Life


A photo from my 2003 National Parks road trip

In some ways, my new role as Chair of the Senate Subcommittee on National Parks is the job I’ve been preparing for all my life – I just didn’t know it at the time!

I’ve spent half a century advocating for conservation – as a private citizen fighting to create the Land for Maine’s Future program, as Governor working to conserve more than 604,000 acres of land, and now as a Senator working to protect America’s natural treasures. I’ve always felt that this is one of my most important contributions to the nation, because it’s more or less permanent. Bills can be adjusted or repealed – but when we set aside these lands, we are protecting them for future Americans.

Generations have worked to protect the beauty and wonder of America’s national parks for their children and grandchildren, and I’m honored to play a part in carrying this legacy forward. There’s a lot of work to do, with challenges including overcrowding at these natural treasures, long-overdue maintenance and repairs, and the looming threat of climate change. I’m ready to work with my colleagues from both parties to do our part in protecting these American jewels. 

If you’d like to learn more about my work in this important area, I sat down with E&E News to discuss this new role and my lifelong passion for environmental protection.

September Policy Update


As a reminder, you can read more on my regularly updated press release page at Here are some other priorities I’ve been working on:

  • Boosting "Made in USA" products. The Senate unanimously passed my bipartisan legislation with Senator Mike Lee of Utah this month to establish a uniform federal standard for products labeled “Made in the U.S.A.” or “Made in America.” Under current conditions, businesses that make their products in the United States face a patchwork of different state laws – making compliance costs burdensome in order to ensure products can be sold across the country with the designation. Read more HERE.
  • Urging President Biden to open the Maine-Canada border. I have been urging President Joe Biden to allow fully vaccinated Canadians to drive across the U.S.-Canada border – a logical extension of his newly-announced protocols for vaccinated international visitors traveling to the country by plane. In a letter to the President, I highlighted the nonsensical logistical challenges presented by requiring Canadians to fly rather than drive. Read more HERE.
  • Strengthening civics educationI introduced the Constitution education Is Valuable In Community Schools (CIVICS) Act, bipartisan legislation designed to support the development of Constitution and civics education curriculum for students across the country. Read more HERE.
  • Pushing to prevent government shutdowns. You’ve likely seen some reports about the potential federal government shutdown that we narrowly avoided this week; there’s no earthly reason Americans should have had to worry about such a problem. That’s why I joined a bipartisan group of colleagues to reintroduce the Prevent Government Shutdowns Act of 2021, which would take government shutdowns off the table by setting up an automatic continuing resolution (CR) if government funding has not been enacted on time and requiring Congress to stay in town until the job is done. Read more HERE.
  • Keeping Maine's forests healthy. My colleagues and I introduced the America’s Revegetation and Carbon Sequestration (ARCs) Act of 2021, a bipartisan piece of legislation that aims to restore ecosystems and boost carbon storage and sequestration through tree planting, fire risk reduction projects, and expanded use of forest products and new wood technologies. Read more HERE

In the News


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Due to the impacts of COVID-19, my staff in Washington, D.C. are working remotely – but we’re still at work, ready to help you navigate any challenges you’re facing during this challenging time. 

All the best, and stay healthy! 
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