Susan Collins (left) and Sara Gideon Credit: Composite photo

The BDN Opinion section operates independently and does not set newsroom policies or contribute to reporting or editing articles elsewhere in the newspaper or on

Bill Wagner of Yarmouth works for Microsoft creating learning materials for software developers.

Susan Collins hasn’t changed; politics has. That’s the most important reason to vote for Sara Gideon.

Politics today isn’t what it was in 1996, when Collins was first elected. We are facing different issues and challenges. Each party has changed their platforms, policies and norms.

Gideon’s policies are better for our current political climate. From the moment Gideon entered this campaign, she has focused on the concerns that matter today and loom large in the next decade: health care and the pandemic, the effects of climate change on Maine’s environment, and building an economy for the 21st century. Gideon has detailed policy recommendations for these priorities.

On health care and related issues, Gideon has shown a common sense approach to improve health care for Mainers. She long advocated to expand Medicaid coverage in Maine. She sponsored and passed a bill to protect Mainers with pre-existing conditions, regardless of what happens in Washington. She’s a strong supporter of Planned Parenthood and women’s health care.

Her approach highlights her commitment to addressing real problems that face real Mainers today. Meanwhile, Collins cast a critical vote to enable the Trump administration to argue before the Supreme Court that 20 million Americans should lose access to healthcare during a pandemic.

All the challenges we face have grown more dire during Collins’ Senate tenure. They’ve grown because our current politicians won’t address them. There is an urgent need for new leaders and reform in Washington. Gideon can be one of those new leaders, fighting for Mainers in the halls of Congress while building a stronger, more unified America.

Collins has been in the Senate for 24 years. She has many accomplishments we laud and she should be proud of. But she is also, in part, responsible for our current politics. How can we ask a 24-year Senate veteran to fix the problems of her tenure? Looking for positions and plans on her campaign website tells us her answer: She has no plans to fix these issues.

Times have changed. Politics has changed. Susan Collins hasn’t changed, and that’s why she cannot meet this moment. Sara Gideon is the right choice for Maine’s future.