There is no denying that this is a tumultuous time for our nation. Every day it seems we are confronted with more troubling news about the state of our union, and new divisions and discord are sowed among our neighbors, friends and family.

But these divisions can be overcome. They can be overcome by listening to each other and learning from people of different political affiliations and backgrounds. They can be overcome by growing our understanding of the people and ideas that make up the American Experiment. They can be overcome by electing leaders of courage, of vision and of common sense who understand that their highest responsibility is to our country, not to a political party or a rigid ideology. Independent Sen. Angus King is such a leader.

Through a distinguished career in business and in public office, King has demonstrated that he represents what is best in Maine people – hard work, sound judgment and a determination to help his community.

During his time in the Senate, Sen. King has fought for Maine’s veterans to see that they receive access to health care close to home so they have options beyond traveling long distances to Togus in Augusta. He has reached across the aisle to drive down the costs of student loans so the next generation of leaders can innovate and flourish without decades of excessive debt. And he has worked to protect Americans at home and abroad through his positions on the Senate Armed Services Committee and Senate Intelligence Committee.

We served together as Maine’s senators, a Republican and a Democrat, for 15 years in the 1980s and ’90s. During those years, we formed a close partnership and worked with a mutual respect and the understanding that our duty was to the people of Maine and the people of our country. It is encouraging that in these trying times, we have seen Sen. King and Sen. Susan Collins continue to uphold this tradition of civility and Maine common sense.

After our service in the Senate, we each became immersed in some of the world’s most complex problems through our respective positions as U.S. secretary of defense and as chairman of the peace talks in Northern Ireland. For each of us, our approach was focused on listening, through sitting down with warring nations and ensuring fair proceedings where everybody’s voice was heard. When you sit down with Sen. King, you will find this same dedication to listening. Whether it’s at a roundtable discussion with Maine families or in a national security hearing in Washington, King is able to bring sides together and create tangible results for Maine and our country.

Our country has flourished because we are an open democratic society that encourages new ideas, new opportunities and differing opinions. Now more than ever, men and women like Sen. King are necessary for the advancement of our country, for the principles upon which it was built and for the civility upon which it rests.

 

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