May 14, 2013

Snowe back to fight for middle ground

Olympia Snowe argues for a return to the days when compromise was possible on major issues.

By Kevin Miller kmiller@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

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Olympia Snowe
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Former U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe, R-Maine

AP

"Though disappointed, the president wished me well and thanked me for all the work and time my staff and I had spent on the legislation," she recalled. "Later, he wrote me a very thoughtful letter of appreciation for my involvement."

Snowe also devotes a considerable number of pages to her retirement decision.

She recounts an anguished series of weeks as she deliberated over whether to run again and only her husband, former Maine Gov. John "Jock" McKernan, knew about her doubts. She eventually told her chief of staff, John Richter, but still was not absolutely sure.

"I had John prepare two statements, one for me running, one not; and in truth, I really didn't decide which one I was going to put out until that day."

Ultimately, Snowe wrote, she decided she could do more working to change Congress from the outside than she expected she could accomplish during another six-year term in a highly polarized atmosphere.

Snowe said she is hopeful that the current, bipartisan effort on immigration reform is a sign that some of the partisanship on Capitol Hill is giving way. Snowe insists she is not seeing the more bipartisan past through rose-tinted glasses and acknowledges that Congress, by its nature, is often a messy and partisan place. But she said Monday that she longs for the way the Senate used to be when the parties worked together to solve critical issues.

"And that is the real regret, that so much has changed," Snowe said.

 

Kevin Miller can be contacted at (207) 317-6256 or at:

kmiller@mainetoday.com

On Twitter: @KevinMillerDC

 

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