I write in response to a Sun Journal story “New group targeting Collins with ads” (Aug. 14).

I was diagnosed with cancer more than three years ago. I have had nine surgeries and 55 radiation treatments. My medical care has cost more than $1 million. Cancer has changed my life and, at times, been a battle I thought I was surely going to lose — but a battle worth fighting.

Sen. Susan Collins has represented Maine, and me, for more than two decades. In that time, she has rarely held a public town hall forum, appearing to be more focused on fundraising outside Maine where 95% of her campaign donations now come from. And last year, she cast a critical vote for the Republican tax law that threatens Mainers’ Medicare, Social Security and the Affordable Care Act. It’s difficult not to get the feeling that Collins isn’t listening to people like myself.

Her campaign criticized a TV ad that I appeared in, where I voiced my concerns about her taking millions of dollars from special interests and voting to give new tax breaks to big corporations — tax breaks that jeopardize Mainer’s Medicare and Social Security. She said that I was trying to“deceive voters with a reckless disregard for the truth.” Although no one wants to be attacked by a U.S. Senator, I guess I should look on the bright side: it appears, at last, that she is finally listening to me.

Let’s be clear: it’s an undeniable fact that Collins voted for a tax plan that cut taxes for big corporations by 40% and gave the richest 0.1% an extra $150,000 a year. When all is said and done, 83% of the bill’s benefits go to the top 1%.

And if she doesn’t like folks pointing out that her vote for the tax law jeopardizes Medicare and Social Security, she should take that up with her boss, Sen. Mitch McConnell. Just days after pushing through the deficit-financed tax cut, McConnell said the only way to lower the record-high budget deficit would be to cut entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security.

Sen. Collins also took issue with my criticism over the special interest money she has taken.

According to The Center for Responsive Politics, Collins has taken more than $7.2 million from corporate political action committees — the entities that big corporations use to support politicians. That doesn’t include money from the executives of insurance and drug companies, banks and other big corporations, who have given her more than $5 million.

I feel the same way about my decision to shine a light on Sen. Collins’ record in Washington and the special interest money she’s taking in as I do about my cancer diagnosis — it is a battle worth fighting.

Dave Tuemmler, North Yarmouth


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