2020 Maine Senate Candidate Guide
ABORTION – Legal or ban?
Susan Collins – Mixed. Condemned Alabama law banning most abortions. However, voted to confirm Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who wrote in a 2017 judicial opinion that “the Government has permissible interests in favoring fetal life.”
Sara Gideon – Legal. Calls self “a strong and vocal advocate for protecting and expanding access to women’s reproductive care.” Co-sponsored legislation to require Maine’s Medicaid program to support abortion services.
AFFORDABLE CARE ACT- Support Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare
Sara Gideon – Yes. “The best system for us to build on is the Affordable Care Act.” In Maine House, “repeatedly supported efforts to expand Medicaid” under ACA.
CAMPAIGN FINANCE – Require more disclosure about sources of campaign financing? Overturn Citizens United decision allowing corporations and unions unlimited political spending?
Susan Collins – Mixed. Voters “have the right to know who is contributing,” but called DISCLOSE Act “a partisan bill that would not fix the real problem.” Did not support constitutional amendment to roll back Citizens United.
Sara Gideon – Yes. Backs legislation that would require disclosure of dark-money donors. Supports passing the DISCLOSE Act and constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.
CLIMATE CHANGE – Consider human-caused climate change a serious threat? Address as top priority by taxing or limiting output of greenhouse gases?
Susan Collins – Mixed. Co-sponsored Regional Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act. Joined Climate Solutions Caucus. Voted to support Keystone XL pipeline construction to transport Canadian tar sands oil to U.S. refineries.
Sara Gideon – Yes. “One of the most urgent challenges we face.” Co-sponsored bill to “limit greenhouse gas pollution.” Committed to rejoining Paris Agreement. Calls “bold and immediate action on climate change” a top priority.
COVID-19 – Favor administration’s COVID response?
Susan Collins – Yes. “The President did a lot that was right in the beginning.”
Sara Gideon – No. Accused President Trump of slowing delivery of relief for political gain.
COVID CRISIS – ECONOMIC RESPONSE – Support administration’s economic response to coronavirus pandemic?
ENVIRONMENT – Tighten or loosen environmental protections?
Susan Collins – Mixed. Supported environmental protections such as preventing Arctic National Wildlife Refuge drilling. However, opposed Obama designation of Maine’s Katahdin region as national monument.
Sara Gideon – Tighten. Calls environmental stewardship “deeply important to our livelihoods.” Voted to ban foam containers and single-use plastic bags. Introduced water quality bill to protect tribal sustenance fishing.
FINANCIAL REGULATION – Tighten or loosen regulation of banks and credit card companies?
Susan Collins – Loosen. Voted to repeal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rule allowing class action suits against banks & credit card companies.
Sara Gideon – No position found.
GAY RIGHTS – Support same-sex marriage?
GUN CONTROL –Enact more restrictive legislation on firearms?
Susan Collins – Yes. Supported background checks bill and assault weapons ban. Reintroduced “red flag” bill to “prevent individuals posing a threat to themselves or others from purchasing or possessing firearms.”
IMMIGRATION – Create a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, including “Dreamers” brought to U.S. as children?
Susan Collins – Yes. Co-sponsored bipartisan legislation to provide a path to citizenship for “Dreamers.”
Sara Gideon – Yes. Urged Maine’s congressional delegation to support the DREAM Act, with conditional legal status for undocumented youth.
IMPEACHMENT – Support U.S. Senate calling witnesses and voting to convict President Trump?
Sara Gideon – Yes. By not calling witnesses, the Senate failed to provide “the fair impeachment trial that Mainers and Americans deserved.”
IRAN – Oppose military attacks on Iran without congressional approval?
Susan Collins – Mixed. “I believe the strike that killed Soleimani was justified, but that sustained hostilities committing American troops would require congressional approval.”
Sara Gideon – No. The administration must explain “the imminent threat facing American soldiers and why [a strike is] absolutely necessary. … Congress must provide oversight.”
LABOR – Support strengthening the rights of unions?
MARIJUANA – Decriminalize or legalize?
Susan Collins – Mostly no. Does not “support a national, federal effort to decriminalize.” Would allow VA doctors to recommend cannabis for veterans where legal.
Sara Gideon – Yes. Voted in 2018 for legislation to implement and regulate legalization in Maine, approved by popular vote in 2016, and to override Governor Page’s veto.
MINIMUM WAGE – Raise federal hourly minimum wage above current $7.25/hour?
Sara Gideon – Yes. In 2018, successfully opposed push to repeal minimum-wage increase passed by Maine voters in 2016. Supports raising federal minimum to $15.
PLANNED PARENTHOOD – Should Planned Parenthood receive public funds for non-abortion-related care?
STUDENT FINANCIAL AID – Support free or subsidized tuition for lower-income individuals and lower interest on student loans?
Sara Gideon – Yes. Will work to “lower the cost of college and tackle the student loan debt crisis.” Sponsored education funds for low-income adults with minor children.
SUPREME COURT – Supported Brett Kavanaugh nomination?
Sara Gideon – No. Said Collins’ pro-Kavanaugh vote “put women’s control over their own health care decisions in extreme jeopardy.”
TAXES – Support administration’s $1.9 trillion (2017) tax cuts?
Susan Collins – Yes. Voted for Trump tax cuts, saying they would bring “good jobs and greater economic growth.”
Sara Gideon – No. Called 2017 Trump tax cut a “nearly $2 trillion tax break for big corporations and the wealthiest families in America” which “did little for families in Maine.”
Campus Election Engagement Project is a nonpartisan effort to help colleges engage students in elections. Sources include Votesmart.org, FactCheck.org, Politifact.com and candidate statements. Vote411.org and Ballotready.org offer guides to local races.