Susan Collins casts 6,000th consecutive vote in 18-year streak

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins reached a milestone on Thursday, casting her 6,000th straight vote since she took office in 1997. The Republican has never missed a roll-call vote as a U.S. senator, which says a lot not only about Collins’ dedication, but to the forces of the universe which inextricably have never put a snowstorm, a delayed flight or the flu bug in her way.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky put it this way: “I’m not sure surgery, a tsunami or the most wicked Maine Nor’easter could stop the woman who occupies Margaret Chase Smith’s seat today.”

Collins has said Smith is her inspiration. Smith, a former Maine senator, cast more than 2,900 straight votes, which stood as a Senate record until 1981.

Republican Sen Chuck Grassley of Iowa has the longest still-active streak in the Senate, with more than 7,400 votes dating back to 1993. Former Wisconsin Sen. William Proxmire, a Democrat, holds the all-time record with 10,252 consecutive Senate votes between 1966 and 1988.

Collins cast her first vote on Jan. 22, 1997, when she voted to confirm Madeleine Albright as secretary of state. Her second vote, the same day, was to confirm former Maine Sen. Bill Cohen as secretary of defense.

Collins’ 6,000th vote was in support of invoking cloture on a Senate amendment to an amendment to the House version of the Hire More Heroes Act of 2015. The amendment aimed to prohibit the president from “waiving, suspending, reducing, providing relief from, or otherwise limiting the application of sanctions pursuant to an agreement related to the nuclear program of Iran.”

On the Senate floor on Thursday, independent U.S. Sen. Angus King of Maine presented Collins with a red rose, which Smith often wore on her lapel.

Click here to see King’s tribute to our senior senator’s streak. — Michael Shepherd and Christopher Cousins

Shepherd’s streak reaches 5th day

If you’re reading the Daily Brief, you’re aware that the Bangor Daily News brought in a new political reporter this week who was already a familiar face around the State House. He’s already earned my admiration for the simple fact that he respects the Beatles, unlike his predecessor. Spread the word and you’ll be free, brother.

Let’s let Mike introduce himself properly. — Christopher Cousins

I joined the BDN’s State House bureau on Monday after more than three years at the Kennebec Journal, and they keep trusting me a little more each day to write the Daily Brief.

But I’m no stranger to the State House: I’m from Hallowell — the great little Augusta bedroom city (don’t call it a town) where legislators and lobbyists go to drink — and I covered the Legislature in 2013.

And because I’m such a nerd, I’ve been following Gov. Paul LePage for a while. When I was editor of the University of Maine’s student newspaper in 2010, we got his first sit-down interview as governor-elect. What reporter could pass up an opportunity to report on LePage’s last three years in office?

Be nice to me in the comments and keep in touch, loyal readers: Email me, call or text me at 370-7652, follow me on Twitter if you like snark and friend request me on Facebook. — Michael Shepherd

Chase Jackson: chip off the old block

Chace Joe Jackson, son of former Maine senator and 2nd Congressional District candidate Troy Jackson of Allagash, has been appointed to serve as the national committeeman of Maine Young Democrats.

Chace Jackson — who among other talents is known inside Maine politics as a stellar speech writer — attended school in Fort Kent and is a graduate of the University of Maine at Fort Kent. Jackson has a history of volunteering and participating with grassroots organizations and campaigns. Particularly formational in his upbringing was watching his school in Allagash close and the town’s businesses wither.

“At the heart of all inequality lies one enduring denominator — the institution of those who have power withholding it from those who do not,” said Jackson in a written statement. “As inequality worsens in Maine, the U.S. and around the world, the vocation of we young progressives must be to demand that all people have real, demonstrable, exercisable political power to determine the outcome of their lives. We must never be afraid to turn the system on its head — we must be brave.”

You’ll be hearing from Chace Jackson again. — Christopher Cousins

Reading list

Metallica beer, no kidding

Earlier this year, Budweiser announced it has released special beer cans for all of the NFL’s football teams. Zzzzzzzzzzz…

But now Budweiser is brewing a beer called Metallica, which definitely got my attention. Yeah, we need a soundtrack here for sure.

According to a report by MBPN, the band-and-beer partnership is meant to commemorate the opening of the new Centre Videotron in Quebec City, where Metallica is playing next week. If you’re not familiar, Metallica has become one of the top 10 selling American musical acts since its formation in 1981.

About 100,000 cases of the special-edition beer will be sold in Canada later this month.

OK, but what will the rest of you drink? — Christopher Cousins



Christopher Cousins

About Christopher Cousins

Christopher Cousins has worked as a journalist in Maine for more than 15 years and covered state government for numerous media organizations before joining the Bangor Daily News in 2009.