After seven years of trying, and despite constant promises otherwise, Republicans failed at their quest to repeal and replace Obamacare. The Senate voted down a measure, 51-49, with just three Republicans joining the Democrats to prevent a narrow majority from proceeding. There's been a lot of coverage of John McCain, who surprised everyone by becoming that final, tie-breaking vote, but the real people to thank are Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins. The female Republican senators from Alaska and Maine, respectively, held fast to their convictions throughout this process, saying that they couldn't stomach the GOP's fast-tracked process or brutal coverage losses, and stood by their words to protect their constituents.
If you're one of the millions of Americans who is thankful for the actions of these two Republican ladies — protecting health care coverage for millions and protecting a legislative achievement neither of them initially voted for — it's very easy to get in touch with the senators, even if you don't live in either of their states.
Like all members of Congress, Collins and Murkowski have offices in Washington, D.C. where they can be reached, either by phone, fax, or direct mail. Below is the contact information for both, because already, activists are getting involved thanking them:
And in addition to their Washington, D.C. offices, both senators have numerous local offices throughout their states. Susan Collins has Maine offices in Augusta:
68 Sewall Street, Room 507, Augusta, ME 04330
Phone: (207) 622-8414
202 Harlow Street, Room 20100, Bangor, ME 04401
Phone: (207) 945-0417
160 Main Street, Biddeford, ME 04005
Phone: (207) 283-1101
25 Sweden Street, Suite A, Caribou, ME 04736
Phone: (207) 493-7873
55 Lisbon Street, Lewiston, ME 04240
Phone: (207) 784-6969
One Canal Plaza, Suite 802, Portland, ME 04101
Phone: (207) 780-3575
Lisa Murkowki's offices in Alaska can be found in Anchorage:
510 L Street, Suite 600 Anchorage, AK 99501
Phone: (907) 271-3735; Fax: (877) 857-0322
Courthouse Square, 250 Cushman Avenue, Suite 2D, Fairbanks, AK 99701
Phone: (907) 456-0233; Fax: (907) 451-7146
800 Glacier Ave, Suite 101, Juneau, AK 99801
Phone: (907) 586-7277; Fax: (907) 586-7201
Throughout this whole process, direct democracy has been central. Republican senators begrudgingly admitted that the popular resistance to their bill made passing it much harder. There have been estimated over 200,000 calls made, totaling over 495 days worth of call time.
Susan Collins said that when she marched in her state's Fourth of July parade, she was inundated with constituents thanking her for being against the Republican plan. “I heard, over and over again, encouragement for my stand against the current version of the Senate and House health-care bills," Collins told The Washingon Post. "People were thanking me, over and over again. ‘Thank you, Susan!’ ‘Stay strong, Susan!’”
So if there's one lesson from this whole fight, it's that your involvement in the process, and your thanks to elected officials who do what you need them to do, matters.