ELLSWORTH — U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) has announced she will not be joining the 2018 gubernatorial race, stating that she is best able to serve Maine’s people in Congress.
Collins made the announcement Friday morning while speaking at a Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce breakfast in Rockport.
During her remarks, Collins discussed the recent health care debate as well as her ongoing work to improve the health care system. Toward the end of her remarks, she said it was time to address “the elephant in the room.”
“As most of you know, I have been deliberating for some time about whether or not to seek the Republican nomination for governor,” Collins said. “Shortly after I was re-elected to the Senate in 2014, many residents of our state began urging me to consider running for governor. I am touched that many of our residents believe that I could provide our state with thoughtful and effective leadership.”
She said that the “hands-on” nature of the governor’s job was appealing, as was the idea of being in Maine full time.
The three-term senator said becoming governor would also mean giving up a powerful role in Congress.
“When I was first sworn in, I was 99th in seniority. I am now 15th,” Collins said. “I hold a senior position on the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee where I have been able to accomplish a great deal for the people of our state. My seniority — along with my persistent advocacy — have allowed me to secure funding for important programs.”
“Ultimately, I have been guided by my sense of where I could do the most for the people of Maine – and our nation,” she said.
“I realized how much remains to be done in a divided and troubled Washington if we are to serve the people of our states,” Collins said. “…I am a congenital optimist, and I continue to believe that Congress can — and will — be more productive. I want to continue to play a key role in advancing policies that strengthen our economy, help our hard-working families, improve our health care system, and bring peace and stability to a violent and troubled world.”