U.S. Senate candidate Sara Gideon talks with veterans during a roundtable at the American Legion Post 205 in Augusta on July 15. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

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At this point, anyone in Maine with a television set or an internet connection has seen ads that say a lot of nasty things about Sara Gideon, the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate. It seems like every day there’s a new outlandish claim being made about her, her family or her record as speaker of the Maine House of Representatives.

The Sara Gideon in these ads is a made-up supervillain created by well-paid consultants at the National Republican Senatorial Committee in Washington, D.C., who are working around the clock to come up with smears and falsehoods that they think you’ll believe. Their goal is maintaining Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell’s power, so that he can continue to pursue his agenda of tax cuts for the wealthy, cuts to Social Security and Medicare, environmental degradation and taking away health care. Don’t fall for their spin.

The real Sara Gideon is a mother who has raised three children right here in Maine with her husband, Ben. She has been an integral part of her community for decades.

The real Sara Gideon is a dedicated public servant with an impressive track record. From her time on the Freeport Town Council to her service in the Maine House of Representatives, she has worked tirelessly to help more Mainers get the health care need, lower the cost of prescription drugs, protect our LGBTQ community, grow renewable energy and Maine jobs, stand up for Maine workers, lower property taxes and protect access to reproductive care.

The real Sara Gideon stands up for what she believes in and doesn’t back down from a fight. As speaker of the House, she pushed hard against the steadfast opposition of Republicans in the Legislature and then-Gov. Paul LePage to responsibly expand MaineCare, the state’s Medicaid program, so more Mainers could have the health care they need. It took several years and the overwhelming support of Maine voters in a 2017 referendum, but she won that fight. At latest count, almost 60,000 Mainers are enrolled through MaineCare expansion, including almost 50,000 adults without children and 10,000 parents and caretaker relatives.

The real Sara Gideon also knows how to work across the aisle to get things done for Maine people. This last session, she worked with Republican leaders in the Legislature to pass bills aimed at reducing childhood poverty. And when LePage vetoed her bill to address the opioid crisis, Gideon secured bipartisan support to override that veto.

The real Sara Gideon responded quickly and competently to the COVID-19 pandemic. Before Maine even had a single case, she had worked with other State House leaders to come up with a bill package that empowered a strong health care and economic response to the virus, and an agreement to adjourn the Legislature until it was deemed safe for the 151-member House and 35-member Senate to return, along with their staff.

The real Sara Gideon is thoughtful, hardworking, and a passionate advocate for Maine families, workers, small businesses and seniors. We’d be lucky to have her as our senator in Washington.

Ben Algeo is a law student who lives in Portland. He previously worked for the Maine Senate Democratic Campaign Committee and the Maine Senate Majority Office.