|U.S. Senator from Maine|
From: January 7, 1997 – Present
|Successor||Incumbent (no successor)|
Susan Margaret Collins, born December 7, 1952 (age 65), in Caribou, Maine, is the junior U.S. Senator from Maine and a member of the Republican Party. Serving in a fairly liberal state, Collins is frequently labeled as a Republican in Name Only (RINO). She has often broken with her party and voted with the Democrats, notably in in support of partial-birth abortion and gay rights.
While she voted with the majority of the Senate in favor of the 2002 "Iraq War Resolution" authorizing President George W. Bush to go to war against Iraq, she cosponsored a non-binding resolution with three other liberal Republican Senators that showed the Senate's disapproval of the President's plan to send 21,500 more troops to Iraq in January of 2007. Additionally, in the Obama administration she was one of only three Republicans to support the $787 billion economic stimulus package, although she worked to reduce $100 billion from the package, along with Nebraska Democrat Senator Ben Nelson.
Collins was easily reelected to a third term in the U.S. Senate in 2008.
Collins is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of St. Lawrence University. She worked for Senator William Cohen from 1975 until 1987, when she became chair of the Maine commission on financial regulation. She served in this position until 1992, when she briefly served as New England regional director of the National Small Business Administration. She was the Republican candidate in the Maine gubernatorial election of 1994, but both she and the Democratic candidate, former Governor Joe Brennan, were defeated by the Independent candidate, Angus King. Susan Collins was elected to the United States Senate in 1996.
Susan Collins voting record is moderate and has been consistently one of the most liberal Republicans in the senate. In the 1990s, Collins played an important role during the U.S. Senate's impeachment trial of Bill Clinton when she and fellow Maine Senator Olympia J. Snowe sponsored a motion that would have allowed the Senate to vote separately on the charges and the remedy. On May 23, 2005, Collins was one of fourteen moderate senators to forge a "compromise" on the Democrats' use of the judicial filibuster, thus allowing the Republican leadership's attempt to control debate without having to exercise the so-called "nuclear option". Under the agreement the Democrats would retain the power to filibuster a Bush judicial nominee only in an "extraordinary circumstance", and the three Bush appellate court nominees (Janice Rogers Brown, Priscilla Owen, and William Pryor) would receive a vote by the full Senate. Senator Collins is a member of The Republican Main Street Partnership and supports stem cell research. She is also a member of The Republican Majority For Choice, Republicans For Choice, The Wish List, Republicans for Environmental Protection, and It's My Party Too. Collins has a perfect attendance record, by not missing one vote since she was sworn in to the Senate in 1997.
Senator Collins is Ranking Member and former Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Department of Homeland Security and is the Senate’s chief oversight committee. She also serves on the Armed Services Committee and is a member of the Special Committee on Aging. Previously, she served for six years on the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. Senator Collins was also the first freshman Senator ever to lead the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.