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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Susan Collins

Assumed office 
January 3, 1997
Serving with Olympia Snowe
Preceded by William Cohen

In office
January 3, 2003 – January 3, 2007
Preceded by Joe Lieberman
Succeeded by Joe Lieberman

Born December 7, 1952 (1952-12-07) (age 57)
Caribou, Maine
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) none
Residence Bangor, Maine
Alma mater St. Lawrence University
Occupation Public Official
Religion Roman Catholic
With fellow Maine Senator Olympia Snowe

Susan Margaret Collins (born December 7, 1952) is the junior United States Senator from Maine and a member of the Republican Party. First elected to the Senate in 1996, she is the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Collins and her fellow Senator from Maine, Olympia Snowe, are regarded as leading moderates within their party.


Early life and career

One of six children, Susan Collins was born in Caribou, Maine, where her family operated a lumber business since in 1844.[1] Her parents, Donald and Patricia, each served as mayor of Caribou; her father also served in both houses of the Maine Legislature.[2] [3] Her uncle, Samuel W. Collins, Jr., sat on the Maine Supreme Judicial Court from 1988 to 1994.[4] She attended Caribou High School, where she was president of the student council.[5] During her senior year of high school in 1971, Collins was chosen to participate in the U.S. Senate Youth Program, through which she visited Washington, D.C. for the first time and engaged in a two-hour conversation with U.S. Senator Margaret Chase Smith (R-ME).[5] Collins is the first program delegate elected to the Senate and currently holds the seat once held by Smith.

After graduating from Caribou High School, she continued her education at St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York.[6] Like her father before her, she was elected to the Phi Beta Kappa national academic honor society.[1] She graduated from St. Lawrence magna cum laude with a bachelor's degree in government in 1975.[1] Following graduation, Collins worked a legislative assistant to U.S. Representative, and later U.S. Senator, William Cohen (R-ME) from 1975 to 1987.[6] She was also staff director of the Oversight of Government Management Subcommittee on the United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (1981-1987).[6]

In 1987, Collins returned to Maine and joined the cabinet of Governor John R. McKernan, Jr. as Commissioner of the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation.[1] She was appointed the New England regional director for the Small Business Administration by President George H. W. Bush in 1992.[2] After briefly serving in this post until the 1992 election of Democrat Bill Clinton, she moved to Massachusetts and became Deputy State Treasurer of Massachusetts under Joe Malone in 1993.[6]

Returning to Maine, Collins won an eight-way Republican primary in the 1994 gubernatorial election, becoming the first woman to be nominated by a major party for Governor of Maine.[2] During the campaign, she received little support from Republican leaders and was criticized by conservative groups for her more liberal views on social issues. She also received negative publicity when her brother was arrested in connection with a $1 million marijuana distribution operation. She lost the general election, receiving 23% of the vote and placing third behind Democrat Joseph E. Brennan and the winner, Independent candidate Angus King.[7]

In December 1994, Collins became the founding executive director of the Center for Family Business at Husson College in Bangor.[1] She served in this post until 1996, when she announced her candidacy for the seat in the U.S. Senate being vacated by her former boss, William Cohen, who retired to become U.S. Secretary of Defense under President Clinton. With Cohen's public endorsement, she won a difficult four-way primary and faced Joe Brennan, her Democratic opponent from the 1994 gubernatorial election, in the general election. She eventually defeated Brennan by a margin of 49% to 44%. She was reelected in 2002 over State Senator Chellie Pingree (D), 58%-42%, and again in 2008 over Rep. Tom Allen (D), 61.5%-38.5%. In both elections, she carried every county in Maine.

Senate career

Described as one of "the last survivors of a once common species of moderate Northeastern Republican,"[4] Collins is considered a bipartisan and centrist member of the Republican Party, and an influential player in the U.S. Senate.[8][9][10][11] She is a member of several moderate organizations within the Republican Party, including the Republican Main Street Partnership, Republican Majority For Choice, Republicans for Choice, The Wish List, Republicans for Environmental Protection, and the Republican Leadership Council. Her voting record was at one time center-left which has caused some Republicans to label her as a "Republican in Name Only" (RINO). Although she shares a centrist ideology with Maine's senior Senator, Olympia Snowe, Collins is considered a "half-turn more conservative" than Snowe.[4] Collins has consistently been endorsed by the Human Rights Campaign, a major LGBT rights organization; she was one of six Republicans running in 2008 to be endorsed by the HRC.[12] She supported John McCain in the 2008 election for President of the United States.[13]


Voting record

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 Snowe sponsored a motion that would have allowed the Senate to vote separately on the charges and the remedy. When the motion failed, both Snowe and Collins subsequently voted to acquit, believing that while Clinton had broken the law by committing perjury, the charges did not amount to grounds for removal from office.

Collins voted with the majority in favor of the Iraq War Resolution authorizing President George W. Bush to go to war against Iraq, on October 10, 2002.[14]

On October 21, 2003, with Senate Democrats, Collins was one of the three Republican Senators to oppose the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act. She did however join the majority of Republicans in voting for Laci and Conner's Law to increase penalties for killing the unborn while committing a violent crime against the mother.

On May 23, 2005, Collins was one of fourteen senators to forge a compromise on the Democrats' use of the judicial filibuster, thus allowing the Republican leadership to end debate without having to exercise the so-called "nuclear option". Under the agreement the minority party would retain the power to filibuster a Presidential judicial nominee only in an "extraordinary circumstance", and three Bush appellate court nominees (Janice Rogers Brown, Priscilla Owen, and William Pryor) would receive a vote by the full Senate, while two others, Henry Saad and William Myers, were expressly denied such protection. Saad and Myers both eventually withdrew their names from consideration.

Collins voted against the restrictions on travel to Cuba, harsher punishments for drug users, and amending the U.S. Constitution to prohibit same-sex marriages. She has also joined the moderates in the Republican Party and a vast majority of Democrats in supporting campaign finance reform laws. In 2003 she was the only Republican to vote for limiting a tax cut in order to help rural hospitals.

Collins has voted against some free-trade agreements including the Dominican Republic – Central America Free Trade Agreement. In 1999 she was one of only four Republicans (along with her colleague Olympia Snowe) to vote for a Wellstone amendment to the Trade and Development Act of 2000 which would have conditioned trade benefits for Caribbean countries on "compliance with internationally recognized labor rights." This vote, joined only by Republicans Jim Jeffords and Arlen Specter, put her to the political left of many Democratic senators including 2008 presidential contenders John Edwards, Christopher Dodd, and Joseph Biden.

Collins coauthored, along with Senator Joe Lieberman, the Collins-Lieberman Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004. This law implemented many of the recommendations of the 9-11 Commission modernizing and improving America's intelligence systems.

In October 2006, President George W. Bush signed into law major port security legislation coauthored by Collins and Washington Senator Patty Murray. The new law includes major provisions to significantly strengthen security at U.S. ports.

Collins voted in favor of and for the extension of the Bush tax cuts.[15][16][17] She offered an amendment to the original bill that allowed for tax credits to school teachers who purchase classroom materials.[18]

Collins voted for the confirmation of two U.S. Supreme Court Justice nominees, Samuel Alito and John G. Roberts.[19][20] In July 2009, Collins announced her intention to vote for the confirmation of President Barack Obama's first U.S. Supreme Court nominee, U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Sonia Sotomayor, breaking from the opposition led by several conservative Republican senators.

On September 19, 2007, she voted against a motion to invoke cloture on Senator Arlen Specter's amendment proposing to restore habeas corpus for those detained by the United States.[21]

Collins, joining the Senate majority, voted in favor of the Protect America Act, an amendment to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978. Additionally, she voted to deny congressional oversight of Central Intelligence Agency spying programs.[22]

Siding with the majority, Collins voted for the Military Commissions Act of 2006 that stripped the right to a writ of habeas corpus and access to a lawyer for prisoners held of charges of terrorism by the U.S. government.[23] She voted against an amendment to that bill that would have allowed defendants the right to habeas corpus.[24]

In 2004, along a mainly party-line vote, Collins voted against an amendment to prohibit "profiteering and fraud relating to military action, relief, and reconstruction." [25] She later sponsored the Accountability in Government Contracting Act of 2007, approved unanimously by the Senate, which would create more competition between military contractors.[26]

Agreeing with the majority in both parties, Collins voted in favor of the Kyl-Lieberman Amendment,[27] which could give President Bush and the executive branch the authorization for military force against Iran.[28]

As ranking member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Collins and committee chairman Senator Joe Lieberman voiced concerns about budget, outside contractors, privacy and civil liberties relating to the National Cyber Security Center, the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative and United States Department of Homeland Security plans to enhance Einstein, the program which protects federal networks.[29] Citing improved security and the benefits of information sharing, as of mid-2008, Collins was satisfied with the response the committee received from Secretary Michael Chertoff.[30]

In September 2008, Collins joined the Gang of 20, a bipartisan group seeking a comprehensive energy reform bill. The group is pushing for a bill that would encourage state-by-state decisions on offshore drilling and authorize billions of dollars for conservation and alternative energy.[31]

Ultimately, Collins was one of just three Republican lawmakers to vote for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act,[32] earning heated criticism from the right for crossing party lines on the bill.[33] In mid-December 2009, Collins was again one of three Republican senators to back a $1.1 trillion appropriations bill for the fiscal year beginning in 2010, joining Thad Cochran of Mississippi and Kit Bond of Missouri in compensating for three Democratic "nay" votes to pass the bill over a threatened GOP filibuster.[34]

On January 29, 2009 Collins voted in favor of the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (H.R. 2).[35]

Committee appointments

2008 re-election campaign

Collins ran for re-election in 2008 and on May 8, 2007, Representative Tom Allen (District 1) filed papers to run against her. On the same day a poll was released by Critical Insights — an independent polling firm in Portland, Maine — which showed Collins was a strong early favorite. The poll of 600 likely voters showed Collins leading Allen statewide 57% to 30%, with 65% of the important independent vote.

With just nine weeks to election day on November 4, according to a Rasmussen poll Senator Collins led Rep. Tom Allen by fifteen points, 53%-38%. Among independents, Senator Collins led comfortably, 55%-32% and was viewed favorably by independents with a 67% approval rating among them. [1] One month prior to election day another Rasmussen poll gave Senator Collins a 10-point lead over Rep. Allen, 53%-43%. [2]

Overcoming strong anti-Republican sentiment, Collins was elected to a third term with 61.5% of the vote. [3]

Electoral history

Maine U.S. Senate Election 2008
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Susan Collins (incumbent) 444,587 61.5
Democratic Tom Allen 278,651 38.5
Maine U.S. Senate Election 2002
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Susan Collins (incumbent) 299,266 58.4
Democratic Chellie Pingree 205,901 41.6
Maine U.S. Senate Election 1996
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Susan Collins 298,422 49.2
Democratic Joe Brennan 266,226 43.9
Green John Rensenbrink 23,441 3.9
Maine Gubernatorial Election 1994
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Independent Angus King 180,829 35
Democratic Joe Brennan 172,951 34
Republican Susan Collins 117,990 23


  1. ^ a b c d e "About Susan Collins". Susan Collins for Senate. 
  2. ^ a b c Rettig, Jessica (2010-02-10). "10 Things You Didn't Know About Susan Collins". U.S. News & World Report. 
  3. ^ "Patricia M. Collins". University of Maine at Augusta. 
  4. ^ a b c "How Maine's GOP Senators Are Key to Obama's Agenda". TIME Magazine. 2009-02-12.,8599,1878942,00.html. 
  5. ^ a b "Outstanding Maine Students Selected for Senate Youth Program". United States Senator Susan M. Collins. 2010-01-22. 
  6. ^ a b c d "COLLINS, Susan Margaret, (1952 - )". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. 
  7. ^ "General Election Tabulations - November 8, 1994". Secretary of State of Maine. 
  8. ^ Cummings, Jeanne (October 27, 2009). "In Maine, being bipartisan pays off". The Politico ( Retrieved October 27, 2009. 
  9. ^ Connolly, Ceci (October 22, 2009). "New focus on Maine's other centrist Republican senator". The Washington Post ( pp. A03. Retrieved October 27, 2009. 
  10. ^ Herszenhorn, David M. (October 26, 2008). "While Some Republicans Feel the Weight of Bush’s Image, a Senator in Maine Soars". The New York Times ( Retrieved October 27, 2009. 
  11. ^ Jullian, Maite (November 8, 2008). "Snowe, Collins key players across Senate aisle". Bangor Daily News ( Retrieved October 27, 2009. 
  12. ^ "State by State returns for HRC endorsed candidates". 
  13. ^ "McCain List of Supporters". 
  14. ^ "Roll call for H.J.Res. 114". United States Senate. 
  15. ^ "On Passage of the Bill (H.R. 1836, as amended )". United States Senate. May 23, 2001. 
  16. ^ "On the Conference Report (H.R. 2 Conference Report )". United States Senate. May 23, 2003. 
  17. ^ "Motion to Invoke Cloture on the Motion to Proceed to Consider H.R.5970; Estate Tax and Extension of Tax Relief Act of 2006". August 3, 2006. 
  18. ^ "S.AMDT.675 to H.R.1836". Library of Congress. 2001-05-17. 
  19. ^ "Confirmation Samuel A. Alito, Jr., of New Jersey, to be an Associate Justice". January 31, 2006. 
  20. ^ "Confirmation of John G. Roberts, Jr., of Maryland, to be Chief Justice of the United States". September 29, 2005. 
  21. ^ "Roll call for H.R. 1585/S.Amdt. 2022". United States Senate. 
  22. ^ "S.Amdt. 5095 to S. 3930". United States Senate. Retrieved 2008-07-28. 
  23. ^ "S. 3930 As Amended, A bill to authorize trial by military commission for violations of the law of war, and for other purposes.". United States Senate. September 28, 2006. Retrieved 2008-07-28. 
  24. ^ "Specter Amdt. No. 5087, To strike the provision regarding habeas review.". United States Senate. September 28, 2006. Retrieved 2008-07-28. 
  25. ^ "Leahy Amdt. No. 3292, To amend title 18, United States Code, to prohibit profiteering and fraud relating to military action, relief, and reconstruction.". United States Senate. June 16, 2004. Retrieved 2008-07-28. 
  26. ^ "S. 680--110th Congress (2007): Accountability in Government Contracting Act of 2007". Retrieved 2008-07-28. 
  27. ^ "Kyl Amdt. No. 3017 as Modified, To express the sense of the Senate regarding Iran.". United States Senate. September 26, 2007. Retrieved 2008-07-28. 
  28. ^ "Lieberman-Kyl Amendment Seeks To Escalate Possibility Of Military Action Against Iran". Think Progress. September 25, 2007. Retrieved 2008-07-28. 
  29. ^ Lieberman, Joe and Susan Collins (May 2, 2008). "Lieberman and Collins Step Up Scrutiny of Cyber Security Initiative". U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Retrieved 2008-05-14. 
  30. ^ Condon, Stephanie and Declan McCullagh (July 31, 2008). "DHS stays mum on new 'Cyber Security' center". CNET News (CBS). Retrieved 2008-09-02. 
  31. ^
  32. ^ President Obama shouldn't give up on bipartisanship
  33. ^ Traitors! GOP Sens. Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins and Arlen Specter all Give In To Liberal 'Porkulus' Bill
  34. ^ Roll Call Vote
  35. ^ "U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 111th Congress - 1st Session". United States Senate. March 19, 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-04. 

External links

United States Senate
Preceded by
William Cohen
United States Senator (Class 2) from Maine
1997 – present
Served alongside: Olympia Snowe
Political offices
Preceded by
Joe Lieberman
Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee
2003 – 2007
Succeeded by
Joe Lieberman
Party political offices
Preceded by
John R. McKernan, Jr.
Republican nominee for Governor of Maine
Succeeded by
James B. Longley, Jr.
Preceded by
William Cohen
Republican nominee for United States Senator from Maine
(Class 2)

1996, 2002, 2008
Succeeded by
Most recent
United States order of precedence
Preceded by
Jeff Sessions
United States Senators by seniority
Succeeded by
Mike Enzi


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Susan Margaret Collins (born December 7, 1952) is an American politician, the junior U.S. Senator from Maine and a Republican.


  • I think so much depends on what happens in the next six months. If the president is determined to go ahead with this plan, and he appears to be determined, I hope it works—for our country, for Iraq, for our soldiers. I hope that I prove to be as wrong as I’ve ever been in my life.
    • Answering: "How will his [John McCain's] support for the war affect his presidential chances?" Feb. 5, 2007
    • "‘I Hope I’m Wrong’", Newsweek, Feb. 5, 2007.

External links

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