The crowd had come to hear legendary crooner Rod Stewart and 1980s pop icon Cyndi Lauper sing their hits — but at a concert Friday in Bangor, Maine, Lauper paused between songs to summon a special guest to the stage: Sen. Susan Collins.
“Come out!” the pink-haired singer urged Collins, who hovered in the wings at Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion. Lauper grasped the senator’s hands as the smiling lawmaker was greeted by cheers and whistles.
“Now this woman, this woman is a hero. And she’s my hero,” Lauper said. She paused. “And she’s a Republican!” (A notable detail, as Lauper has been outspoken about her progressive politics and performed at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.)
“She helped us so much with the LGBT homeless youth and all the homeless kids,” Lauper told the crowd. “I was blessed to testify on her committee, which was bipartisan,” she added, referring to her appearance before the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development subcommittee in 2015 at a hearing addressing youth homelessness.
Collins is one of four Republican senators who have said they will continue to oppose the controversial GOP health-care bill. The moderate Maine senator has repeatedly expressed concern about the bill’s proposed changes to the Medicaid program, arguing that those cuts would have a devastating impact on vulnerable members of society — including many of the rural communities she represents.
Collins was lavished with applause as Lauper offered her the microphone, asking if she had any words she’d like to share.
“We’re just glad you’re here, Cyndi,” Collins gushed, embracing the singer, then waving goodbye as she left the stage.