Collins’ Covention Speech (Full Text)


collinsBangor’s recent resurgence is an example of the great things that are happening in our state.  We have this beautiful new arena, the tremendous waterfront concert series, fantastic restaurants – and now – best of all, Bangor has 1700 Republican activists under one roof ready to work for a great victory in November.

An interesting piece of history makes it especially fitting that we gather here for our convention.  One hundred-sixty years ago, in June of 1854, citizens from across Maine gathered in this city to plan the creation of a new political party.  A party dedicated to one ideal – the freedom of all people – and to one goal – the eradication of slavery from this nation.  Our state played a key role in the establishment of the Republican Party.

One principle that has always united the people who make up the Republican Party is our respect for the Constitution.  A basic Constitutional principle is the separation of powers among our three branches of government.  Yet, President Obama routinely disregards this principle.

With his unilateral waiving of laws and rampant use of executive orders, the President’s attack on the separation of powers doctrine grows more brazen every day. He’s even making so-called “recess” appointments when the Senate is not in recess. I know he doesn’t like to work with Congress, but he cannot pretend we don’t even exist.  And do you know what his defense is?  It depends on what the meaning of “recess” is.  Two federal courts have already ruled that his recess appointments are unconstitutional.

President Obama has threatened to expand this overreach, saying he has a pen that he will use to bypass Congress.  Perhaps instead he could use his pen to underline parts of the Constitution that have escaped his attention… like the First Amendment, where the IRS has engaged in an outrageous abuse of power.  It’s absolutely chilling that the IRS deliberately targeted conservative groups –and even tried to compel some to reveal their membership lists.

It is unacceptable. It is unconstitutional.  And it is illegal.

I was one of the first to condemn the IRS’s action, and I am proud to say that I wrote the law that prohibits the IRS from using taxpayer funds to target American citizens for exercising their First Amendment rights.

Nothing illustrates this Administration’s overreach more than ObamaCare.  That ill-conceived legislation passed without a single Republican vote in either the House or the Senate.  We voted against it because we knew it would cause the very harm we are seeing today: higher insurance premiums, fewer choices, and more taxes.  Too many Maine families are finding that the promise was hollow indeed, when the President said: “If you like your insurance, you can keep your insurance.  Period.”

We Republicans offer a different promise:  If you like your Constitution, you can keep your Constitution.  Period.

Republicans know that to get the American economy back on track we need to simplify our tax code, cut unnecessary regulation, and reduce our government’s drag on job creation. With Republican leadership, can we do that?

Republicans know that ObamaCare needs to be replaced with fair and effective reforms to our health care system.  With Republican leadership, can we do that?

Republicans know that out-of-control spending is crippling our economy.  By the year 2020, interest payments on the national debt will exceed the total that we spend on our national defense.  And our primary creditor is China. We must rein in runaway spending.  With Republican leadership, can we do that?

This election is so important.  The stakes are high for everyone who cares about our great nation.

Abraham Lincoln called the Constitution “the only safeguard of our liberties.” History has shown it can best be upheld with Republican leadership.  In the 19th century, it was Republicans who led the fight to end slavery.  In the 20th century, it was Republicans who led the effort to end segregation in the schools.  And in the 21st century, it will be Republicans who lead the effort to unite our nation by protecting the freedom, liberty, and opportunities of each and every American.

And I have something to say about what some have described as the Republican Party’s “war on women.”  The first woman to be elected to the House of Representatives was a Republican.  The first woman to serve as National Security Advisor was appointed by a Republican President.  The first woman to serve on the Supreme Court was nominated by a Republican President.  And the first woman to have her name placed in nomination by a major party to run for President was a Republican.

I guess if Republicans are waging a “War on Women,” we’re doing an awfully poor job of it.

By the way, that woman who ran for President was Maine’s own Margaret Chase Smith.  It was 50 years ago.  I currently hold her seat in the United States Senate and sit at her desk on the Senate floor.  And today, to honor her memory, I am wearing a gold elephant pin that belonged to her.  Senator Smith’s family gave it to me when she passed away.  Needless to say, it is one of my most treasured possessions.

Senator Smith was a great role model for me.  I have tried to embrace the dignity, determination, and Maine work ethic that she brought to the United States Senate.  That is why I have never missed a roll call vote in my time in the Senate – 5,473 in a row.

It is such a great honor to represent the citizens of Maine in the United States Senate.   I truly appreciate your help with my campaign, and I know that you will join me in working with our Chairman Rick Bennett and Governor LePage, our House candidates, and our Legislative candidates so that we can win a great Republican victory this fall.

With your help, I know we can win; I know we will win.


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