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Senator Susan Collins to speak at UMFK Breakfast February 20

February 6, 2004


Maine's Junior U.S. Senator, Aroostook County native Susan Collins will be the featured speaker at the first University of Maine at Fort Kent Business Networking Breakfast of the new year on Friday, February 20, at 7:30 a.m. in the Nowland Dining Hall on the university campus.

Tickets for the event, which will include a full breakfast buffet, followed by a presentation from Senator Collins, are $7 each and can be purchased through the university's development office by calling (207) 834-7800. Deadline for reserving tickets is Monday, February 16.

Collins, who is currently in her second term representing Maine in the U.S. Senate, is chair of the Governmental Affairs Committee, one of only twelve major committees in the United States Senate. The committee has jurisdiction over the new Department of Homeland Security and is the Senate's chief oversight committee.

"We are thrilled that Senator Collins has accepted our offer to speak at the upcoming breakfast. She has been a staunch advocate of northern Maine and of the UMFK campus. Our institution has been the direct beneficiary of Senator Collins advocacy since she was first elected. Most recently, she worked tirelessly to ensure federal dollars would be appropriated to assist in the construction of the new Acadian Archives building and to provide funding for archival preservation when the building is complete this spring. She is a good friend and we are delighted that she will be our speaker," said UMFK President Richard Cost.

Among other topics, Collins is expected to speak about President Bush's recently proposed FY 2005 federal government budget, which calls for a considerable increase in spending for Homeland Security and National Defense.

She will also address specific areas of the budget that will impact the state and northern Maine in particular, as well as any proposed legislation on issues of significance to the region such as matters concerning border and trade, agriculture, education, the environment and healthcare.

In addition to serving as chair of the Governmental Affairs Committee, Collins also serves on the Armed Services Committee, the Special Committee on Aging, and the Joint Economic Committee.

Previously, she served for six years on the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. Senator Collins was also the first freshman Senator ever to lead the Governmental Affairs Committee's permanent subcommittee on investigations. As its chair, Senator Collins focused on consumer issues such as Internet fraud, securities scams, deceptive mailings, Medicare fraud, food safety, and telephone billing fraud.

Collins was one of the architects of landmark education reform legislation and led the successful charge to triple funding for early reading initiatives. She also authored the law providing a $250 tax deduction for teachers who spend their own money on classroom supplies.

Her goal of expanding access to higher education led her to co-author the 1998 Higher Education Act and to support increases in Pell grants and other student financial aid.

Collins's priorities include maintaining a strong national defense and strengthening our country's homeland security. She also continues her longstanding efforts to help small businesses create jobs; to improve health care, particularly for citizens living in rural areas; and to combat consumer fraud.

She led the fight to restore millions of dollars to the Medicare program for home health care so that elderly citizens can receive needed care in their own homes. Senator Collins also founded the Senate Diabetes Caucus, and led the effort to more than double federal funding for diabetes research.

A 1975 magna cum laude graduate of St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, Senator Collins worked for former Maine Senator William S. Cohen for 12 years.

In 1987, she joined the cabinet of Maine Governor John R. McKernan as Commissioner of Professional and Financial Regulation, a position she held for five years. She then served as New England Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration from 1992 to 1993.

In 1993, Senator Collins ran her first campaign for public office and became the first woman in Maine history to receive a major party nomination for governor after winning an eight-way Republican primary in June of 1994. She lost the general election in the fall.

In December of 1994, Senator Collins became the founding executive director of the Center for Family Business at Husson College in Bangor, Maine, a position she held until she resigned in 1996 to run for the Senate seat being vacated by Senator Cohen. She won both a contested Republican primary and a four-way general election later that year.

Collins won re-election to a second term in the U.S. Senate in 2002.