Former U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe to speak on bipartisanship at January Series

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With Gallup reporting a 13 percent job approval rate for the U.S. Congress in 2013, the legacy of the America’s legislative body has fallen into a political pitfall. The extent of the political polarization compelled one U.S. Senator to leave her spot in Congress.

That senator was Olympia Snowe, former U.S. Senator from Maine, who was listed as one of America’s Best Senators in 2006 by TIME Magazine.

Nicknamed ‘The Big O’ by former president George W. Bush, Snowe served as the Republican representative in the U.S. House of Representatives from Maine’s 2nd District from 1979-1995 before serving as the U.S. Senator from Maine from 1995-2013.

“As one of the last moderate Republicans in the U.S. Senate with an accomplished legislative career, Sen. Snowe offers a keen perspective on how to transcend the political polarization that had plagued Congress for the past two decades,” said Mikael Pelz, political science professor at Calvin College.

Well-known for her ability to compromise and a strong sense of bipartisanship, Snowe was the first woman in American history to serve in both houses of a state legislature and both houses of Congress.

In 2012, Snowe surprised the nation when she announced she would not seek a fourth term in the Senate, because, as she wrote in the Washington Post, “the Senate is not living up to what the founding fathers envisioned.”

“She believed the system could no longer be saved from the inside, and she left because she loves the institution and wants to fix it from outside of Washington,” explained Kristi Potter, director of the January Series.

Former U.S. senator Olympia Snowe will present “Fighting for Common Ground: How We Can Fix The Stalemate in Congress” at the January Series at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 9 in the Covenant Fine Arts Center.