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Former U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe to deliver lecture at Sanford

Olympia Snowe, a former U.S. Senator from Maine, will deliver this year's Crown Lecture in Ethics March 26.

The free talk will take place at 5:30 p.m. in Fleishman Commons at the Sanford School of Public Policy. Fritz Mayer—professor of political science, public policy and the environment—will moderate a discussion with Snowe. 

“Dysfunction, partisanship and gridlock dominate the headlines,” Mayer said in a press release for the event. “Sen. Snowe, a political insider who is now out of office, is uniquely positioned to talk to us about coming together to solve our common problems. Unless we fix our politics, we cannot hope to tackle the great policy challenges of our time.” 

Snowe, who served as a Republican senator from 1995 to 2013, is currently a senior fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington, D.C. think tank. She began climbing the rungs of the political ladder in 1973 after her husband, a state representative in Maine, was killed in a car accident. 

After deciding to run for his seat, Snowe won the special election to the Maine House of Representatives and later became a state senator in 1976. Snowe became the first Greek-American congresswoman when she was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1978, where she served until becoming a U.S. Senator in 1995. After her election to the Senate, Snowe became the only woman to serve in both houses of a state legislature and both houses of Congress.

During her nearly two decades in the Senate, Snowe became known for her moderate, bipartisan views and willingness to compromise with Democrats. She was a member of the Gang of 14, a group of senators who brokered a compromise between Republicans and Senate Democrats, who were filibustering a number of President George W. Bush's judicial nominees in 2005.

Snowe has also garnered a number of accolades, including being named as one of the 10 best U.S. Senators in 2006 by Time Magazine. Forbes ranked her as the 54th most powerful woman of the year in its 2005 rankings.


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