BANGOR — Members of a Mount Desert Island political advocacy group met with Sen. Susan Collins in Bangor on Nov. 22 to discuss the tax reform proposal in the U.S. Senate.
Indivisible MDI is the local chapter of the nationwide “Indivisible” movement launched after the 2016 national election. They began meeting in January after the Women’s March in Washington, D.C., and some members met regularly with Collins’ staffers leading up to the meeting.
“As we were coming back [from the march], we were really fired up and we met at the Village Green,” Amy Roebuck said.
Roebuck said that the 1,000 people connected between two Facebook groups and a mailing list likely have different political party affiliations.
“There’s nothing that says you have to be a Democrat to join,” Roebuck said.
“We don’t really talk about party,” Gail Leiser said. “We don’t want [to be claimed] by the Democrats [because] there are a lot of us who are unhappy with the Democratic Party.”
Both Leiser and Roebuck were included in the group of 10 that attended the meeting with Collins. The group raised concerns about the rush to get the tax bill passed, the bill’s affect on health care and financial impacts on families.
Collins responded sympathetically to each point raised by the group, they said.
The group wants Collins to know that some of her constituents are concerned about Trump’s agenda.
“Our worldview [may] differ, but ultimately, we are all concerned about the health and well-being of Mainers and our country as a whole,” Leiser said. “There’s nothing that says that because she has an ‘R’ next to her name that she has to buy into the whole agenda that’s set forth.”
Leiser complimented Collins on her knowledge and transparency during the hourlong meeting, but said she was not confident that Collins would vote “no” on the bill.
“She’s an excellent listener and was open to what we were saying,” Leiser said. “But my takeaway was that she was going to vote for a bad bill because she can fix it through the amendment process.”
“I did walk away thinking we were thoughtfully listened to,” Roebuck said. “There are things in there that she has been against and we hope she stays against.”
Indivisible MDI meets publicly once a month. Their next meeting is set for Wednesday, Dec. 13, at 6:30 p.m. in the parish hall at St. Saviour’s Church in Bar Harbor.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story listed the wrong date for the next Indivisible meeting.