Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, left, chats with Gina Mosca after speaking to home care and hospice workers at MaineGeneral Medical Center’s Alfond Center for Health on Wednesday in Augusta. Staff photo by Joe Phelan
AUGUSTA — U.S. Sen. Susan Collins said she sees opportunity in Tuesday’s election results for a moderate Republican voice such as hers to increase bipartisanship in Congress.
Collins, speaking to home care and hospice workers at MaineGeneral Medical Center’s Alfond Center for Health Wednesday, said she would have preferred Republicans kept control of the U.S. House of Representatives, where the Democrats gained a majority in Tuesday’s elections. But she said a divided government can actually provide more opportunities for members of both parties to work together in the House and Senate. Republicans strengthened their majority in the Senate.
“I obviously wish the Republicans had sustained control of the House,” Collins said. “But I look at this as an opportunity. An opportunity for people like me, who are in the middle and who try to bring people together, to have willing partners in both the House and Senate.”
Collins, who told the crowd she’d stayed up late Tuesday night watching election returns come in, said she called Democrat Janet Mills early Wednesday morning to congratulate her for winning the race to become Maine’s next governor.
“I’ve known the Mills family for many, many years,” she said. “Our families have intersected many times in public service in the state of Maine.
“I supported Shawn Moody (in the gubernatorial race) but I am certain I’ll have a great relationship with Janet,” Collins added. “And it helps that we already know each other well.”
Mills will be Maine’s first female governor ever, ground Collins tried to break in 1994 in her own unsuccessful bid for governor.
“I’m proud that she’ll be the first woman governor in Maine,” Collins said. “Something I tried to be back in 1994.”
Collins praised the roughly 120 home care and hospice workers gathered to celebrate Home Care & Hospice Month Wednesday morning at MaineGeneral and spoke of the importance of their work helping patients remain at home as they age and need healthcare, which she said can be delivered more cost-effectively and comfortably in homes.
This story will be updated.