Biography

About Senator Collins

First elected in 1996, Maine Senator Susan Collins is serving her third term in the United States Senate. Known for her work in facilitating bipartisan compromise, Senator Collins is a key leader in the U.S. Congress.

Her record demonstrates significant legislative accomplishments in such critical areas as homeland security, national defense, disaster response, education, business development, and health care. Senator Collins' accomplishments range from the repeal of a $50 billion tax break for the tobacco industry to a major overhaul of our nation’s intelligence community to make us safer from terrorism. Along with former Senator Joe Lieberman, Senator Collins led the successful repeal of the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law that prohibited gay and lesbian Americans from serving openly in the military.

As the first freshman Senator ever to serve as Chairman of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Senator Collins directed investigations into waste and fraud in government and corporate malfeasance. One of those investigations uncovered $26 billion in Medicare fraud. Another represented the most comprehensive congressional investigation of the Enron scandal.

After her re-election in 2002, Senator Collins became chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Her leadership, coupled with her work on the Armed Services Committee, earned her a national reputation for her policy expertise.  In 2004, she coauthored the Collins-Lieberman Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act to fight terrorism and other emerging security threats.  The legislation also created the Privacy and Civil Liberties Board to ensure privacy and civil liberties concerns are being protected.  In 2007, she secured passage of legislation to better protect our nation’s seaports and chemical facilities, as well as to rebuild our nation’s emergency preparedness.

Today, Senator Collins continues her national security work as a member of the Select Committee on Intelligence. She also serves on the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, where she not only is the top Republican on the Transportation Appropriations and Housing Subcommittee, but also is a senior member of the Defense Appropriation Subcommittee. A recipient of the Navy’s highest civilian honor, Senator Collins has successfully fought for increased funding for Navy shipbuilding to support the jobs of the men and women at Bath Iron Works, Maine's largest private employer, and has been recognized and been a strong advocate for the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery. She has also advocated for the Maine Military Authority and the Defense Finance and Accounting Services Center in Limestone, as well as the Air National Guard base in Bangor and the Maine Army National Guard.

Susan Collins is also known as a tireless advocate for education and has visited and read to children at nearly 200 schools across our state. She has secured critical federal funding for special research projects and equipment for the University of Maine System and Maine’s Community Colleges.

A champion for our small businesses, Senator Collins is very proud of the strong ratings she has received from the National Federation of Independent Business for her support of small business in the Senate.

Currently serving as the ranking member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, Senator Collins has had a long-standing interest in health care. In 1997, she founded the Senate Diabetes Caucus and has led the effort to more than triple federal funding for diabetes research. As Senate co-chair of the Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s Disease, she has worked to increase funding for Alzheimer’s research and to strengthen support for family caregivers. She also led the fight to restore critical funding to Medicare so that elderly and disabled residents can receive needed care in their own homes.

Constituent service has always been one of Senator Collins’ top priorities in Washington and in her six state offices. During her time in the Senate, she has helped tens of thousands of her constituents with problems with federal agencies.

Susan Collins is not only an effective and tireless advocate for Maine families, she is a proven leader who is respected by colleagues on both sides of the aisle. In 2014, ELLE Magazine named her one of the "most powerful women in D.C."  She is also recognized as one of the hardest working members of Congress. During her entire time in the U.S. Senate, she has never missed a roll call vote… casting more than 5,500 consecutive votes… and counting!

Senator Collins was born and raised in Caribou, Maine, where her family runs a fifth-generation lumber business, founded by her ancestors in 1844. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of St. Lawrence University, she is married to Thomas A. Daffron and resides in Bangor.

Honors

Senator Collins’s dedication and hard work have won praise from her home state newspapers as well as national newspapers from coast to coast.

• Upon the conclusion of the 109th Congress, the Portland Press Herald wrote about Senator Collins’ accomplishments, “…Collins gets it done. [Senator Collins’] moderation and bipartisan style should keep her winning streak alive.”

• Following passage of the Collins-Lieberman intelligence reform legislation, the Bangor Daily News wrote, “Senator Collins was tireless in crafting the largest change to the nation's intelligence agencies in a half century. She has served Maine and the nation well in her efforts, and deserves enormous credit for her thoughtful, forceful pursuit of this reform.”

• The Lewiston Sun Journal wrote, “Her reputation as a moderate and her willingness to work with politicians regardless of their political affiliations make her an effective voice in Washington.”

• Foster’s Daily Democrat wrote, “Mainers should be proud of her work on behalf of her state and the nation," and "Sen. Collins is Maine's role model."

• The Maine Sunday Telegram said, “The Maine senator’s ability to stay focused on a goal is one of the reasons she’s gained a powerful post.”

• The Los Angeles Times referred to her as a “champion of good government” in a profile, while The New York Times has said, “Ms. Collins has a long history of taking on the Washington bureaucracy.”

Senator Collins has also earned honors from many professional and civic groups. Senator Collins was honored by families who lost loved ones on September 11th for her work authoring the Collins-Lieberman intelligence reform legislation. The American Association of Port Authorities named Senator Collins as “Ports Person of the Year” for her work in helping to secure our nation’s ports. In addition, Senator Collins has been named “Guardian of Small Business” by the National Federation of Independent Businesses, “Legislator of the Year” by the American Diabetes Association, and has received honors from other groups ranging from the Veterans of Foreign Wars Association to the National School Boards Association.