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Maine Delegation Reacts To Trump's State Of The Union Address

Andrew Harnik
Associated Press
President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019.

Members of Maine's congressional delegation welcomed President Trump's calls for unity in his State of the Union address, but said their ultimate support will depend on his actions.Sen. Angus King, an independent, said in a statement to the Portland Press Herald that Trump’s speech “covered a lot of ground, but the challenge now is what actions will follow the President’s words.”

King's Republican colleague, Sen. Susan Collins, said she was pleased to hear the president call for bipartisan legislation that would support infrastructure, biomedical research and lower drug prices.

“We must come together to develop the solutions needed to move our country forward and improve the lives of all Americans,” Collins said, in a statement released Tuesday night.

Next week presents a critical opportunity for compromise to prevent another government shutdown, Collins said. “The recent shutdown was an example of how a refusal to compromise is a recipe for dysfunction that hurts American families and our economy.” 

Collins is urging "a collaborative approach" to border security and is calling for government funding to be secured through the end of the fiscal year, which is Sept. 30.

Maine's 1st District Rep. Chellie Pingree, a Democrat, said she was pleased to hear the president talk about bipartisan proposals and unity. But she questioned whether the president will make good on those calls.

“We’re still recovering from the longest government shutdown in American history, and he has issued threats to start another if he doesn’t get his way on a border wall,” Pingree said, in a statement.

And Pingree says she was disappointed to hear nothing about climate change in the State of the Union address.  Pingree invited as her guest Joel Clement, a former Department of Interior official who says the Trump administration has worked to suppress climate science.

Second District Rep. Jared Golden, also a Democrat, said he agrees with some of the issues Trump indicated he’d like to focus on, but disagrees with the president’s approach.

“I agree with the president that NAFTA has failed working Mainers, but his NAFTA 2.0 proposal needs significant changes to ensure we don’t repeat the same disastrous trade policies that have led to closed mills, outsourced jobs, and stagnant wages,” Golden said, in a statement. “And while the president is right to focus on infrastructure improvements, his proposal should not place the burden on local governments and small businesses here in Maine.”

Barbara grew up in Biddeford, Maine. She earned a master’s in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and a bachelor’s in English from the University of Southern Maine.