If you don’t know who Senator Olympia Snowe is, you should read about her. If you want to know what a serious legislator looks like, you should study her career. She has been a public servant for over 30 years. She represented Maine’s second district in the U.S House of Representatives from 1975-1995, and was elected Senator in 1995. Throughout her career, she has developed a reputation of being one of the leading moderates in Congress. In 1995, she helped establish the bipartisan group of senators called the Gang of 14 to preserve the right to filibuster judicial nominations even though Democrats were in the minority. She’s a trailblazer in many ways. At age 26, she became the youngest Republican woman and first Greek-American ever elected to Congress. In 2001, she became the first Republican woman to secure a full-term seat on the Senate Finance Committee.
Amidst the deeply polarizing environment in Washington, Senator Snowe is the epitome of grace and civility. She doesn’t engage in all the name calling, finger-pointing and partisan bickering that goes on in Congress. She’s not a politician with an insatiable desire to be in the spotlight or go on Cable TV talk shows to score cheap political points against her opponents. She’s a serious legislator that is more concerned about solving problems for the people of Maine and the entire country. An independent thinker that is willing to work with Democrats because she recognizes that the Republican Party doesn’t have a monopoly on good ideas or good policy.
Her personal story is very inspiring. She has suffered crushing setbacks and hardship in her life. Her mother died of breast cancer when she was only eight years old, then her father passed away just a year later. Her first husband was killed in a car accident and she lost her step-son when he was only 20 years old. To go through those difficult challenges and still possess the fighting spirit and strong dedication to public service is remarkable. It is a testament to her character. The Congress just lost a leader and role model to men and women alike. The U.S Senate and the citizens of Maine will miss her voice, passion, and tenacity. So will I.