Weekly Columns

Strengthening Rural Communities and Preparing Students for Success

Maine is the most rural state in the country.  Two out of three Maine schools are in rural communities, and more than half of Maine students attend those schools.  While nearly 90 percent of the students in our State graduate from high school, only 62 percent enroll in higher education right away.  According to a recent report by the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, only 30 percent of Maine students go on to earn a two-year or four-year degree.



COLUMN: Training Future Loggers for Good-Paying Jobs in the Forest Products Industry

Maine’s timber industry is an integral part of our economy and continues to be the primary economic driver of countless rural communities throughout our State.  To prevent severe worker shortages and to provide good jobs, it is essential that the next generation be prepared for the logging profession as experienced operators of modern timber harvesting equipment.



Reducing the Cost of Prescription Drugs

While driving with two of her sons in the car recently, Michelle Dehetre, a mother of five from Lewiston who has Type 1 diabetes, had a frightening experience that has become all too common for her: she began to feel very faint.  Fortunately, no one was injured, and paramedics quickly arrived on the scene to take her to the emergency room. 



Thwarting Criminals Seeking to Steal Americans’ Tax Refunds

In January 2015, Rick Zaccaro and Bonnie Washuk, a married couple here in Maine, filed their federal income taxes.  Rick, a retired financial analyst for the Postal Service, checked the status of their return online in early February and learned that they were the victims of identity theft. Someone had filed and claimed a tax refund using their names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers. That fraudulent claim was paid by the IRS while their legitimate tax filing, with the refund they were due, was stuck in limbo.



Home Care and Hospice Month: A Time to Recognize Medical Professionals Who Provide Expert Care for Patients Each Day

November is National Home Care and Hospice Month, a time to recognize the skilled, dedicated professionals who make a difference in the lives of patients and their families every day.  Home care and hospice nurses, therapists, aides, and other caregivers play a central role in our health care system and in homes in Maine and across the nation.



Maine and Togus: A Proud Record of Honoring and Caring for Our Veterans

Veterans Day is a solemn anniversary, a day set aside not to celebrate victory in a great battle, but to honor the sacrifices that brought peace.  The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 was not marked by the roar of cannon.  Rather, it was the moment the guns of the First World War were silenced by courage, devotion to duty, and a commitment to freedom.



Bipartisan Legislation Authored by Senators Collins, McCaskill to Prohibit Pharmacy “Gag Clauses” Signed into Law

Washington, D.C. – Today, bipartisan legislation authored by U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) to ban the use of pharmacy “gag clauses” was signed into law.  The Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act prohibits an egregious practice that concealed lower prescription drug prices from patients at the pharmacy and caused consumers to needlessly overpay.  This legislation is a continuation of Senators Collins and McCaskill’s bipartisan efforts to reduce the cost of prescription drugs.



Fighting for Maine’s Lobster Industry

Lobstering has served as an economic engine and a family tradition in Maine for generations, helping to support the livelihoods of thousands of families in our state through fishing, processing, and shipping. Approximately 150 million pounds of lobster are caught each year in U.S. waters at a value of more than $500 million, representing one of our country’s most valuable catches. 




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