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Olympia Snowe


Incumbent
Assumed office 
January 3, 1995
Serving with Susan Collins
Preceded by George J. Mitchell

In office
February 24, 1989 – January 9, 1995
Preceded by Constance Brennan
Succeeded by Mary King

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maine's 2nd district
In office
January 3, 1979 – January 3, 1995
Preceded by William Cohen
Succeeded by John Baldacci

In office
January 3, 2003 – January 3, 2007
Preceded by John Kerry
Succeeded by John Kerry

Born February 21, 1947 (1947-02-21) (age 62)
Augusta, Maine
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) (1) Peter Snowe (deceased)
(2) John R. McKernan, Jr.
Residence Auburn, Maine
Alma mater University of Maine
Occupation Senator
Religion Eastern Orthodox

Olympia Jean Snowe (born February 21, 1947), née Bouchles, is the senior United States Senator from Maine. She is a Republican and a leading moderate within the party. Snowe has become widely known for her ability to influence the outcome of close votes, including whether to end filibusters.[1]

In 2006, she was named one of America's Top Ten Senators by Time Magazine.[2]

Contents

Early life

Snowe was born Olympia Jean Bouchles in Augusta, Maine, the daughter of Georgia Goranites and George John Bouchles. Her father immigrated to the United States from Sparta, Greece.[3] She is a member of the Greek Orthodox Church.[4][5]

Snowe's early life had its share of tragedies; her mother died of breast cancer when she was eight, and her father died of heart disease barely a year later. Orphaned, she was moved to Auburn, Maine, to be raised by her aunt and uncle, a textile mill worker and a barber, respectively, along with their five other children. Her brother John was raised separately, by other family members. Within a few years, illness would also claim her uncle's life.

Following her mother's death, Snowe was sent to St. Basil's Academy in Garrison, New York, where she remained from the third grade to the ninth, and she was taught by Athena Hatziemmanuel. Returning to Auburn, she attended Edward Little High School, before entering the University of Maine in Orono, Maine in 1969, where she earned a degree in political science. Shortly after graduation, Bouchles married her fiancé, Republican state legislator Peter Snowe. She received an honorary degree from Bates College in 1998, and another from the University of Delaware in 2008.

Career in politics

Snowe in the Maine Senate, 1977

Snowe entered politics and rose quickly, winning a seat on the Board of Voter Registration and working for Congressman (later U.S. Senator and U.S. Secretary of Defense) William Cohen. Tragedy struck Snowe again in 1973, when her husband was killed in an automobile accident. At the urging of family, friends, neighbors and local leaders, Snowe ran for her husband's Auburn-based seat in the Maine House of Representatives at the age of 26 and won. She was re-elected to the House in 1974, and, in 1976, won election to the Maine Senate, representing Androscoggin County. That same year, she was a delegate to both the state and national Republican conventions.

Snowe was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1978, and represented Maine's 2nd Congressional District from 1979 to 1995. The district takes in most of the northern two-thirds of the state, including Bangor and her hometown of Auburn. She served as a member of the Budget and International Relations Committees.

Snowe married John "Jock" McKernan, then-Governor of Maine, in February 1989. Snowe and McKernan had served together in the United States House of Representatives from 1983 to 1986, when McKernan represented the 1st District. While Snowe was First Lady of Maine from 1989 to 1995, she served as a U.S. Representative and was elected and sworn in as a United States Senator.

Senate career

In 1994, when Senate Majority Leader George J. Mitchell declined to run for re-election, Snowe immediately declared her candidacy for the seat. The Democratic nominee was her House colleague, 1st District Congressman Tom Andrews. Snowe defeated Andrews 60–36%, carrying every county in the state. Snowe was part of the Republican sweeping elections of 1994, where the Republican party would capture the House and Senate for the first time since 1954. Snowe was easily reelected in 2000 over State Senate President Mark Lawrence, increasing her winning margin to 69%-31%.

Snowe was an important voice during the Senate's 1999 impeachment trial of then-President Bill Clinton. She and fellow Maine Senator Susan Collins sponsored a motion that would have allowed the Senate to vote separately on the charges and the remedy — a "finding of fact" resolution. When the motion failed, Snowe and Collins voted to acquit, arguing that Clinton's perjury did not warrant his removal from office.

Her occasional breaks with the Bush administration drew attacks from conservative Republicans; the Club for Growth and Concerned Women for America label her a "Republican In Name Only" (RINO).[2] In February 2006, TheWhiteHouseProject.org named Olympia Snowe one of its "8 in '08", a group of eight female politicians who could possibly run and/or be elected president in 2008.[6]

In April 2006, Snowe was selected by Time as one of "America's 10 Best Senators."[7] She was the only woman so recognized. Time praised Snowe for her sensitivity to her constituents, also noting that: "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."

Snowe did not miss any of the 657 votes on the Senate floor during the 110th Congress from 2007 to 2009.[8] She was one of eight senators to not miss any votes.[8]

Snowe is the fourth woman to serve on the Senate Armed Services Committee and the first to chair its seapower subcommittee, which oversees the Navy and Marine Corps. In 2001, Snowe became the first Republican woman to secure a full-term seat on the Senate Finance Committee.

Snowe was the youngest Republican woman ever elected to the United States House of Representatives; she is also the first woman to have served in both houses of a state legislature and both houses of the U.S. Congress. Additionally, she is the first Greek-American congresswoman. With her 1989 marriage to McKernan, she became the first person to simultaneously be a member of Congress and First Lady of a state. She has never lost an election in 35 years as an elected official, and in the 2006 midterm senatorial elections, Snowe won with a reported 73.99% of votes. Seven months ahead of the election, she had already raised $2.1 million.[9]

Gang of 14

Snowe meets with U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Samuel Alito.

On May 23, 2005, Snowe was one of fourteen senators dubbed the Gang of 14, who defused a confrontation between Senate Democrats (who were filibustering several judicial nominees) and the Senate Republican leadership (who wanted to use the nominations as a flashpoint to eliminate filibusters on nominees through the so-called nuclear option). The Gang-brokered compromise precluded further filibusters and the implementation of the nuclear option for the remainder of the 109th Congress; under its terms, the Democrats retained the power to filibuster a Bush judicial nominee in an "extraordinary circumstance," and nominees (Janice Rogers Brown, Priscilla Owen and William Pryor) received a simple majority vote by the full Senate.

The Gang later played an important role in the confirmation of Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito, as they asserted that neither met the "extraordinary circumstances" provision outlined in their agreement. Snowe ultimately voted for both Roberts and Alito.

Committee assignments

2006 re-election campaign

Snowe was re-elected to a third term in 2006. In the November 2006 election, Senator Snowe was faced by Democratic candidate Jean Hay Bright, and independent candidate Bill Slavick. In August 2006 she was polling at 68% vs 20% for Bright;[10] in the election she won by an even wider margin. Snowe, garnering 74% of the votes, won by the second-largest margin (after Richard Lugar of Indiana, who didn't have a Democratic opponent) of any U.S. Senate candidate in the country.

Political views

Snowe meets with sailors returning from Iraq, at Maine's Naval Air Station Brunswick.

Snowe is a liberal on some social issues as has long been typical for Republicans from New England. For instance, she supports legalized abortion and gay rights. However, she also supports the death penalty and strongly supports the war on drugs and the Cuban embargo.

In fiscal and defense matters, Snowe is generally more conservative. She has been long-regarded as a hawk on foreign affairs, supporting both President Clinton's involvement in Kosovo and President George W. Bush's invasions in Afghanistan and Iraq. On fiscal issues, she has voiced support for cutting taxes as economic stimulus, although she joined fellow Republican senators Lincoln Chafee and John McCain in voting against the Bush tax cuts in 2003. Other less fiscally conservative positions include her opposition to most free trade agreements, including the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), and her being the only Republican to vote for the Tax Fairness and Economic Growth Act of 1992, which would have provided some tax refunds to select taxpayers while also increasing non-corporate capital gains tax rates (among other provisions). Snowe voted against , and most free trade measures. She is a strong supporter of environmental protections. Both Snowe and fellow Maine Senator Susan Collins have embraced strong gun control measures following the Columbine High School shooting in 1999.

Snowe lists her top legislative priorities as assisting the growth of small businesses, prescription drug coverage, and student loan and child care funding.

In the 110th Congress, Snowe worked to ensure passage of a genetic non-discrimination act, which she had previously worked to pass for nearly eight years; opposed cutting loans through the Small Business Administration; offered legislation aimed at reducing the price of prescription drugs and insurance costs for small businesses; and became a leading voice among Congressional Republicans expressing concerns over President Bush's plans for the privatization of Social Security.

With fellow Maine Senator Susan Collins

Snowe is a member of the Republican Main Street Partnership and supports stem cell research. She is also a member of Republicans for Environmental Protection, the Republican Majority for Choice, Republicans for Choice and The Wish List (Women In the Senate and House), a group of pro-choice Republican women.

In 2008, Snowe endorsed Republican candidate John McCain for President of the United States.[11]

In the 111th Congress, Snowe has been supportive of the Obama Administration, notably backing him on the release of additional Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. While she opposed President Obama's budget resolution, she has nonetheless pledged to work in a bipartisan manner on the issues of health care reform and energy.[12]

On October 13, 2009, Snowe voted for the Finance Committee's health care bill. However, she stated to Democrats that she may not support them in the future since she had reservations about the legislation of the bill.[13] On December 21, 2009, Snowe voted against closure for the first procedural motion to the final Reid Amendment on the health care reform bill in a 60-40 vote.[14]

Electoral history

Official photo of then Representative Snowe from 1980
Maine U.S. Senate Election - 2006
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Olympia Snowe (incumbent) 402,598 74.01 +5.07
Democratic Jean Hay Bright 111,984 20.59
Independent William Slavick 29,230 5.37
Maine U.S. Senate Election - 2000
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Olympia Snowe (incumbent) 437,689 68.94 +8.7
Democratic Mark Lawrence 197,183 31.06
Maine U.S. Senate Election - 1994
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Olympia Snowe 308,244 60.24
Democratic Tom Andrews 186,042 36.36

See also

References

  1. ^ "The Centrists". National Journal. 2007-03-03. pp. 33. http://nationaljournal.com/voteratings/pdf/06centrists.pdf. Retrieved 2007-04-06.  
  2. ^ "Olympia J. Snowe: The Caretaker". Time. 2006-04-14. http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1183967,00.html. Retrieved 2007-04-07.  
  3. ^ Battle, Robert. "Ancestries of United States Senators: Olympia Snowe". self-published. http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~battle/senators/snowe.htm. Retrieved 2007-04-07.  
  4. ^ Broder, David S. (1997-06-08). "A Real Woman's Issue". Washington Post. http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-725599.html. Retrieved 2007-04-07.  
  5. ^ "Archbishop Demetrios and Other Religious Leaders Testify on Capitol Hill". Hellenic News. 2005-03-16. http://www.hellenicnews.com/readnews.html?newsid=3239&lang=US. Retrieved 2007-04-07.  
  6. ^ The White House Project (2006-02-16). "8 for ’08". Press release. http://www.thewhitehouseproject.org/newsroom/releases/2006/PressRelease021606.php. Retrieved 2007-04-07.  
  7. ^ Calabresi, Massimo; Perry Bacon Jr. (2006-04-16). "America's 10 Best Senators". Time. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1184052,00.html. Retrieved 2007-04-07.  
  8. ^ a b "Senate members who missed votes: 100th Congress". Washington Post. 2009. http://projects.washingtonpost.com/congress/110/senate/vote-missers/. Retrieved February 4, 2009.  
  9. ^ Bell, Tom (2006-04-14). "Snowe aims for GOP road less taken". Portland Press Herald. pp. B1. http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_product=ME&p_theme=me&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&p_topdoc=1&p_text_direct-0=110FF3BD46DCD600&p_field_direct-0=document_id&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D&s_trackval=GooglePM. Retrieved 2007-04-07.  
  10. ^ "Maine Senate: Snowe Holding On to Massive Lead". opinion poll (Rasmussen Reports). 2006-08-21. http://www.rasmussenreports.com/2006/State%20Polls/August%202006/MaineSenate.htm. Retrieved 2007-04-07.  
  11. ^ "Endorsement of John McCain". Youtube. 2007-02-02. http://youtube.com/watch?v=45YN1I89vx0. Retrieved 2007-04-06.  
  12. ^ "Snowe Responds to President’s Outline on the State of the American Economy". Senate Office of Olympia Snowe. 2009-04-14. http://snowe.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressRoom.PressReleases&ContentRecord_id=a60ae1aa-802a-23ad-408e-e860673e3982. Retrieved 2009-04-14.  
  13. ^ Republican’s Vote Lifts a Health Bill, but Hurdles Remain, The New York Times, October 14, 2009
  14. ^ [1]

Further reading

  • Nine & Counting: The Women of the Senate, Boxer, Collins, Snowe et al., ISBN 0-06-095706-9.

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
William Cohen
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maine's 2nd congressional district

1979 – 1995
Succeeded by
John Baldacci
United States Senate
Preceded by
George J. Mitchell
United States Senator (Class 1) from Maine
1995 – present
Served alongside: William Cohen, Susan Collins
Incumbent
Political offices
Preceded by
John Kerry
D-Massachusetts
Chairman of the Senate Small Business Committee
2003 – 2007
Succeeded by
John Kerry
D-Massachusetts
United States order of precedence
Preceded by
James Inhofe
R-Oklahoma
United States Senators by seniority
35th
Succeeded by
Jon Kyl
R-Arizona
Representatives to the 96th–111th United States Congresses from Maine

Simple English

Olympia Snowe (born on February 21, 1947, in Augusta, Maine) was elected to the US Senate in 1994, that made her the first woman in the United States's history in both houses of the state legislature and both houses of the Congress, and the second woman Senator in history to represent Maine. She is the first Greek woman ever elected to Congress. Senator Snowe is a member of the United States Republican Party.








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