The Honorable Olympia Snowe
Former u.s. senator of maine
Olympia Snowe, the renowned moderate Republican, served in the U.S. Congress for thirty-four years. A three-term Senator from Maine, she was elected to the State House of Representatives in 1973, at the age of 26, and to the Maine Senate in 1976. She represented Maine's 2nd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1979-1995 before being elected to the U.S. Senate.
Snowe is only the fourth woman in history to be elected to both houses of Congress, and the first woman in American history to serve in both houses of a state legislature and both houses of Congress. Snowe stunned Washington in February 2012 when she announced she would not seek a fourth term and offered a sharp rebuke to the Senate, citing the dispiriting gridlock and polarization.
Since then, Snowe founded Olympia's List, which recognizes and supports elected officials and candidates who demonstrate their commitment to solving our nation's problems. Snowe also co-chairs the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Commission on Political Reform, engaging thirty Americans from across the political spectrum to develop bipartisan reform recommendations that improve the political process in a polarized environment.
Focusing her attention on efforts to build bipartisan consensus on key issues that matter to Maine and America, Snowe successfully built a reputation as one of Congress’ leading moderates. In 1999, she became co-chair of the Senate Centrist Coalition with Senator John Breaux (D-LA), and in that same year, she was cited by Congressional Quarterly for her centrist leadership.
In 2001, Snowe became the first Republican woman ever to secure a full-term seat on the Senate Finance Committee, and only the third woman in history to join the panel. As former Chair, and later Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Snowe fought fiercely for our nation’s small businesses.
In 2005, she was named the 54th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes magazine. In 2006 Time Magazine named her one of the top ten U.S. Senators. Calling her “The Caretaker,” Time magazine wrote of Snowe: “Because of her centrist views and eagerness to get beyond partisan point scoring, Maine Republican Olympia Snowe is in the center of every policy debate in Washington, but while Snowe is a major player on national issues, she is also known as one of the most effective advocates for her constituents.”
Senator Snowe is married to former Maine Governor John R. McKernan Jr. and lives in Falmouth, Maine and Washington, D.C.