Republican Sen. Susan Collins sparred with her Democrat opponent, Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon, over the state’s handling of coronavirus during a debate on Thursday, touting her initiatives in seeking economic relief during the pandemic and pointing to Gideon’s failure to lend her support as a state lawmaker.
Maine has remained one of the states least affected by the virus, both in terms of infection rate and the economy, and Collins, one of the original architects of the federal loan program that provided financial relief to small businesses, highlighted during the debate the program’s success in Maine in a time of economic crisis.
“I’m very proud of having been the principal author of the Paycheck Protection Program [PPP]. It has provided some 28,000 small businesses … in the state of Maine with $2.3 billion in forgivable loans,” Collins said.
The incumbent senator discussed how it helped sustain paychecks and benefits for 250,000 Maine