Supporting the Great Outdoors


It's no secret that I'm a big fan of America's National Parks - historian Wallace Stegner once called them "the best idea we ever had." The more time I spend marveling at the open expanses of Monument Valley or watching the sunrises over Acadia, the more I'm convinced he was absolutely right. 

In Maine, we're lucky to have one of America's most extraordinary parks, right in our backyard. Last weekend, I was excited to be at Acadia for a celebration of National Park Week and a groundbreaking of its new maintenance building. 

Over the last few decades, many people have visited the island and all its natural wonders. For the most part, this growth has been a good thing - bringing economic benefits to our state and helping more people experience The Way Life Should Be. However, this record visitation has taken its toll. More visitors means more wear and tear on the park: increasing the costs of maintenance and the demands on park staff. The problem isn't unique to Acadia and is being experienced at National Parks across the country. 

It's why in 2020, we passed the Great American Outdoors Act to give our parks the resources they need to succeed. The funding has been a real gamechanger, and has allowed Acadia to pursue construction on the new facility I saw this weekend. The 32,000-square-foot maintenance building will house everything from offices and meeting rooms, to repair shops and equipment storage. It will help them preserve the park for generations and provide visitors the best possible experience. 


Breaking ground on the new maintenance building!

We discussed the importance of this maintenance facility on this month's episode of Inside Maine with Friends of Acadia President Eric Styles. It was a great conversation, and a fun way to recognize National Park Week. If you're interested, you can tune in HERE

Even though National Park week may now be behind us, there is NEVER a bad time to pay your local park or outdoor recreation site a visit (you don't even have to grow a beard). Hope to see you out there!

Preserving Trust in our Democracy


Our democracy is based on trust: trust in systems, trust in institutions, and trust in leaders. Americans need to have confidence that every part of their government is working in accordance with our Constitution and acting in an ethical manner.

In the Federalist Papers, Alexander Hamilton discusses the necessity of this public trust and notes that the Judiciary specifically can only be successful if it has ‘the esteem and applause of all the virtuous and disinterested.’ I worry that over the last few years, as trust in the Supreme Court has reached historic lows, we've gotten dangerously far from this fundamental vision. 

This is not a partisan issue - supporting bedrock principles of faith in our democracy should be something that people on both sides of the aisle can get behind. Fortunately, Republican Senator from Alaska Lisa Murkowski agrees, and has teamed up with me to introduce the Supreme Court Code of Conduct Act to restore and maintain faith in the high court.

The bill is simple: it requires the Supreme Court to create consistent, transparent rules like the ones that apply to every other federal judge across our democracy. It doesn't prescribe any specific rules - it just says that the Court needs to create some. The other two branches of government already have codes of conduct, it is only reasonable the full Judiciary should as well. 

I appreciate Senator Murkowski’s partnership on this bipartisan effort and hope that we can get it done to strengthen our institutions and protect the vision of our founders.

Protecting Women's Health Resources


Several weeks ago, a federal judge in Texas suspended the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of the abortion drug, Mifepristone, because of false safety claims. This drug has been used for decades by millions of women in the United States and around the world to terminate pregnancies, manage miscarriages, and make their own healthcare decisions. It underwent the FDA's rigorous peer-reviewed, data-based approval and has a 99.6 percent safe and effective use rate.

Fortunately, the misguided ruling was reviewed by the Supreme Court  which ruled that the drug must remain available while the case (Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA) is heard by an appeals court. I am relieved that the Supreme Court agreed with the clear legal precedents and that women across the country will be able to continue accessing this FDA approved drug.

Though the Texas judge claimed his decision was made based on dubious safety concerns, the resulting consequences would have forced women to go through more burdensome processes or choose downright unsafe alternatives. It should not be up to the government to decide if a parent is ready or able to have a child nor should it be up to the courts to decide if a drug is safe for use; this is the point of having food and medical board experts. 

As the Fifth Appeals Circuit hears this case, I hope they evaluate the potentially dangerous precedent if the drug is taken off the market and the slippery slope it could create for the future rejection of other effective drugs.

Taking Climate Action Before It's Too Late


The most recent United Nations Climate report found that the world must cut emissions nearly 60% by 2035 to limit the planet’s rise in temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The solutions exist, but we are running out of time. We need to act big, and we need to act fast.

In the past two years, Congress has responded. We passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Inflation Reduction Act to support our transition to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. These bills included over $400 billion in federal funds to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure and combat climate change, with support for electric vehicle charging, expanded transit and rail, a bigger and smarter electric grid, and new energy sources like offshore wind and hydrogen.

But the bottom line is this: there is no easy answer. We will have to accept some tradeoffs and uncertainty in favor of speed. That includes updating our outdated environmental laws to make it easier, not harder, to build the projects and infrastructure that will get us to net zero emissions. Instead of mountains of red tape, we need single agency responsibility, enforceable deadlines, and expedited public input and review.

Let me be clear: the goal is not to undermine environmental standards, but to dramatically accelerate the process. 

I've been working with a group of my Senate colleagues to find reasonable ways to improve these environmental laws and allow for the clean energy development we desperately need. We're making some decent progress and I was glad to have Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm give her support in a hearing of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. 

I'll keep you posted on any updates, and for now, if you want to read more of my thoughts on the need for clean energy and permitting reform, you can here in TIME.

Helping Maine Businesses Hire Workers


Summer tourism season is rapidly approaching and businesses across Maine are struggling to find enough workers to meet their needs. There are a lot of intertwined issues driving these shortages, including burdensome immigration policies, a lack of affordable housing, childcare shortages, and more. But one thing that certainly isn't helping has been the Department of Labor’s slow processing of the certifications that Maine businesses require to hire seasonal foreign workers.

I have repeatedly heard from small businesses that applying for these certifications is far too time consuming and cumbersome, and that a slight misstep may result in a several week delay on top of the weeks or even months that the standard processing takes. This is completely unfair to the Maine businesses who often have only a few short summer months to earn the majority of their profits. Even if a business does finally get approved, it can be too late to hire employees for the season.

Given these serious concerns, I wrote to the Biden Administration asking how the Department of Labor plans to improve the process. They need to ensure that small businesses can have applications processed in a timely manner, and that hotels, restaurants, and stores across our state can hire the workers they need. 

Maine’s tourism industry is a significant part of our state’s economy. Without improvements to this worker certification process, I worry about what it will mean for our communities. I hope the Administration will listen to what small businesses are resoundingly saying and make some much-needed improvements. 

Sending a Powerful Message to Putin


When Vladimir Putin ordered Russian troops to invade Ukraine with no provocation, he hoped to divide the NATO Alliance and rebuild the Soviet Union. More than a year later, it's clear he has failed on both counts. The United States and our allies have held steadfast against Russian aggression, reaffirmed our commitment to NATO, and provided Ukraine with the tools to hold strong against Putin’s attacks.

Finland officially joining NATO this month is a powerful reminder of Putin's failure and that the Free World stands together in defense of democracy, peace, and freedom.

The addition of this powerful ally will make NATO stronger and more united in the face of Putin’s misguided ambitions. I saw the benefits firsthand last year when I traveled to Finland as part of a bipartisan Congressional Delegation shortly after the country formally requested to join NATO. It was clear the nation and its leaders shared our commitment to promoting democracy, countering Russian aggression, and strengthening the international rule of law.

All told, Finland's accession to the NATO alliance will help us deter conflicts and stabilize the region around shared democratic values. As I told Finnish President Niinistö last year, I look forward to continued work ahead.

Meeting Students and First Responders 

One of my favorite parts of my job is traveling the state and meeting with all the good people who are working to make Maine an even better place to live. I've always found that one day of seeing is worth at least a hundred of reading, and this month, in Walden and Knox Counties, that was certainly the case. 


My first stop of the month was in Rockland where I spoke at the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce 2023 breakfast. The event was an incredible way to highlight the good work of our host - the Midcoast School of Technology -and the amazing work the school is doing in the field of technical and vocational education. The students in the picture above are Culinary Arts students who helped put on the spectacular breakfast.

Later in the day, I visited Belfast to hear about the effort of our first responders and see firsthand the plans for the new fire and EMS station with federal CDS funding authorized on a bipartisan basis in 2023. The station will ensure that Maine communities will continue to receive rapid fire response and modern emergency medical services well into the future.


I also visited the City Harbor to view the site of a future affordable housing project. As housing costs rise across our state, we need to do everything possible so that our friends, families, and neighbors have a safe (and permanent) roof over their heads.

This national housing crisis is really hitting Maine families and businesses hard, we need to continue tackling the problem with from every angle. In last year's annual spending bill, we included millions of dollars in Congressionally-Directed  spending (CDS) for housing projects like the one in Belfast.

CDS funding provides a specific amount of discretionary funding to a state, locality, or nonprofit organization for projects with demonstrable civic and community value. More information on CDS projects we secured for Maine can be found here.


Then, last week, I went to Norway, Oxford and South Paris to meet with the Western Maine Addiction Recovery Initiative at the new Hills Recovery Center, in addition to visits at a modular manufacturing company, and two precision machine manufacturing companies to learn about their contributions to our local communities and our state economy. Each organization is working hard to ensure that Maine people can have good jobs, career opportunities, and help provide for the health of their employees.

Every stop was a great learning experience and a powerful reminder of why our state's future is bright. With caring, committed communities like ours, there's nothing we can't accomplish together. 

April 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.

  • Protecting Maine’s Vulnerable Species and Habitats. Senator Collins and I announced that the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife will receive $564,939 to support conservation and stewardship for vulnerable and at-risk Maine species. Read more HERE.
  • Covering COVID-19 At-Home Tests. I joined a letter to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra urging continued access to rapid, at-home COVID-19 tests after the public health emergency expires on May 11. Read more HERE.
  • Supporting Maine Coastal Communities. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is awarding Maine $5,108,413 to support coastal communities and address impacts of climate change. This funding comes from NOAA’s Climate Ready Coasts Initiative and is funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act. Read more HERE.
  • Helping Small Businesses Prepare for Natural Disasters. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and I introduced the Providing Resources for Emergency Preparedness and Resilient Enterprises (PREPARE) Act to help small businesses prepare for future natural disasters. The legislation reauthorizes the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Pre-Disaster Mitigation Pilot Program so that small businesses can use low-interest loans to protect their property from future disaster-related damage. Read more HERE

In The News


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