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Posts by Cole

Accountability | Maine

Analysis: Susan Collins Repeatedly Voted to Undermine Medicare, Social Security

By Cole Driver on August 13, 2019.

Contrary to a misleading fact-check on her Medicare and Social Security record recently posted by her campaign, Sen. Susan Collins has repeatedly voted for Republican legislation that would have slashed funding for Medicare benefits and against multiple proposals to protect or expand Social Security funding.

According to a review by American Ledger, between 1997 and 2017 Collins voted at least eight separate times for GOP budgets that attempted to slash funding for Medicare.

Accountability | New Hampshire

As Opioid Crisis Ravages New Hampshire, Trump Offers Little More than Insults to Granite State

By Cole Driver on August 12, 2019.

In 2017, President Trump claimed he won the state of New Hampshire in the 2016 election -- a state that in fact, he lost to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton -- because it was a “drug-infested den” that needed his help. But since his inauguration, the epidemic continues to ravage New Hampshire communities such as Manchester, where overdoses are skyrocketing this year.

According to a review by American Ledger, opioid overdoses in Manchester -- where the President is campaigning Thursday -- are up by 13% this year alone, many of which are caused by users unknowingly mixing Fentanyl, a synthetic form of Heroin, with prescription opioids, often leading to overdoses, and in many cases, death.

Health Care | Wisconsin

Lawsuit Pushed by Trump Admin Could Mean Major Health Care Costs for Marquette County

By Cole Driver on August 12, 2019.

An ongoing lawsuit -- supported by President Trump -- currently working its way through a circuit court in Texas has the potential to dismantle the Affordable Care Act in its entirety, potentially skyrocketing prescription drug and premiums costs and stripping millions of Americans off their health coverage. In Marquette County, Wisconsin, the potential ramifications of this lawsuit could be catastrophic.

During the 2019 open enrollment period, nearly 5% of Marquette County residents -- which has a total population of approximately 15,000 -- enrolled in an ACA plan through the healthcare exchanges. Of those residents, more than 85% received tax credits and cost sharing subsidies to help curb the cost of rising prescription drug prices and insurance premiums.

Accountability | Wisconsin

Sauk County Continues to Combat the Opioid Epidemic With No Serious Support in Sight From Trump Admin

By Cole Driver on August 12, 2019.

Despite President Trump touting “great success” in fighting the opioid epidemic during his first term, the public health crisis has continued to ravage communities across America. Areas of the Midwest like Sauk County, Wisconsin, have been particularly hard hit where one out of every 140 residents requires treatment for opioid addiction.

In 2016, the rate of individual users seeking substance abuse services in Sauk County increased to 5.2%. And in 2017, local law enforcement reported seeing a reemergence of methamphetamine addiction in Sauk County, which they directly linked to heroin addiction stemming from the opioid crisis.

Accountability | Wisconsin

As Opioid Epidemic Ravages Kenosha County, Federal Budget Cuts Could Compound Crisis, Deaths

By Cole Driver on August 12, 2019.

Over an 18 year period, Kenosha County, Wisconsin ranked first in the state for heroin-related deaths and fourth for deaths stemmed from opioid addiction. In 2017 the crisis took a turn for the worse: opioid overdose became the leading cause of accidental death in Kenosha County, with more than 50 people dying per year.

The escalating crisis, particularly in pockets of the Midwest, is leaving some to question whether or not the Trump Administration is taking the situation seriously and providing necessary resources to combat the epidemic. At the root of the criticism is a $1.5 trillion budget cut that could negatively impact programs that lower-income Americans rely on in order to treat addiction.

Economy | Wisconsin

Kimberly-Clark Corp. Shutters Wisconsin Plant Despite Reporting $3.3B in Profits

By Cole Driver on August 12, 2019.

During his campaign for President in 2016, President Trump repeatedly promised a revival of manufacturing jobs across the Midwest. But after Kimberly-Clark Corp. closed down its plant in Neenah, Wisconsin, at the end of May 2019 -- even as the company enjoyed a multi-million payday from the President’s corporate tax bill -- some 100 people were out of work.

Kimberly-Clark, the maker of Kleenex, Kotex and other personal-care brands, announced in January 2018 that it would be laying off between 5,000 and 5,500 employees across the country, including the 100 jobs in Wisconsin. On the same day, the company reported $3.3 billion in profits in the 2017 fiscal year.

Corruption & Secrecy | Maine

FEC Reports Suggest Collins Violated Ethics Rules By Accepting Campaign Contributions From Her Government Staff

By Cole Driver on August 1, 2019.

As recently as January 2019, Sen. Susan Collins’ campaign accepted illegal contributions from her own government staffers in an apparent violation of Senate ethics rules and federal law. The actions undermine decades-old promises to cease the illicit activities of her campaign in the late 90s.

According to reporting by The Hill from 1998, Sen. Susan Collins’ campaign violated Sec. 603 of the Federal criminal code, which states that it is illegal for a Member of Congress to accept political contributions, including an “advance of money,” from employees in their federal offices even if it is promptly reimbursed. Her chief of staff, Steve Abbott responded to the allegations from The Hill by vowing that this illegal practice would not continue. He also thanked the outlet for bringing the law to his attention, which he said the campaign was “not familiar” with.

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