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Sen. Collins says she used a 'secret weapon' in shutdown negotiations WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said she used a "secret weapon" to help end the government shutdown. “I quickly realized that I needed a way to control the debate because senators can be quite loquacious and they always want to be the first to speak. There's a lot of crosstalk and I wanted to make sure that everybody's voice was heard. So Sen. Heidi Heitkamp a few years ago gave me an African Talking Stick that is used by a tribe that is in Kenya and in the Sudan region. And it is used by the tribe to co