AUGUSTA, January 11, 2017 – In light of Senator Susan Collins’ decision to deliver introductory remarks at Senator Jeff Sessions’ Senate Judiciary Hearing on January 10th, a diverse group of Maine organizations is calling on Senator Collins to take the time to carefully consider Jeff Sessions’ record – and ultimately reject his nomination for Attorney General.
“As a group of organizations and businesses that represent thousands of Mainers, we urge Senator Collins to take the time to thoroughly examine Jeff Sessions’ legal career and his public record, and ultimately reject his nomination for Attorney General,” the coalition writes in an open letter released Wednesday.
“As someone who has dedicated her career to fighting for these issues, Senator Collins should recognize the threat Jeff Sessions poses to women, people with disabilities, immigrant communities, people of color, LGBT people, and the environment,” warns the coalition. Her choice to deliver introductory remarks at his hearings disregards his long public record of hostility to the rights of communities of color, women, workers, LGBTQ people, the environment and immigration.
Jeff Sessions’ record has concerned organizations across the state and the nation. The letter follows a series of protests at each of Senator Collins’ Maine offices organized Tuesday by different groups, timed with the Senator’s introductory remarks at the D.C. hearing. During his time as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama, Sessions pursued politically-motivated prosecutions of people of color – communities that he will be responsible for protecting in his role as Attorney General. In the Senate, he has voted to defund Planned Parenthood and has opposed an amendment that identified the legitimacy of climate change.
“As Mainers who have worked with Senator Collins for years, we have come to value and expect a reasoned voice representing our interests,” said Eliza Townsend of Maine Women’s Lobby. “We are disappointed that she would so quickly and publicly support Jeff Sessions, whose record is at odds with the values we hold dear: protecting equal rights for women, communities of color, people with disabilities, and important safeguards for our climate and environment.”
Rachel Talbot Ross, President of the Portland branch of the NAACP, added, “Senator Collins is not only sending a message to people of color, women and members of the LGBT community across this state that the gains we have made in civil rights are now in jeopardy but that the ideology of white supremacy will have strong influence in our country’s justice system.”
“It is deeply troubling that the trust we have worked so hard to establish with our senior senator can so easily be sacrificed,” Ross continued. “We add our voice to the thousands of Mainers who are calling for Senator Collins to stop campaigning for his confirmation and rescind her endorsement.”
The groups’ letter calls on Senator Collins to stand up for her constituents, examine Jeff Sessions’ record, and ardently reject his nomination for Attorney General. Download the joint letter with the list of signatories by clicking here.