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Tuesday, June 28, 2016 Serving Maine and Lincoln County for over a century. Volume 141 Issue 25

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7/31/2013 2:00:00 PM
Snowe Book Tour Visits Damariscotta
Former Maine Senator/Representative Dana Dow poses with former U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe for Snowe's appearance in Damariscotta July 29. (K. Fletcher photo)
Former Maine Senator/Representative Dana Dow poses with former U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe for Snowe's appearance in Damariscotta July 29. (K. Fletcher photo)
By LCN Staff


Former U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe brought her national book tour to Damariscotta when she was the Chat with Champions' guest speaker on July 29. Before a packed Lincoln Theater audience she discussed her new book, "Fighting for Common Ground: How We Can Fix the Stalemate in Congress."

In the book, Snowe offers possible solutions to the gridlock in Congress, emphasizing the role of constituents to hold their elected officials responsible for their actions.

Because of the partisan division in Congress, Snowe said she decided instead of trying to make changes on the inside of the institution, she would take it outside.

After three decades of public service, she decided to leave her life's work and write a book, offering solutions to get Congress to work together to make decisions based on what is good for the American people.

"Bi-partisanship is important to Mainers and across the nation." Snowe said.

She said she was determined to get the book out as quickly as possible to help begin the process of repairing what she described as "the highest level of polarization" in our nation's history.

"We can solve this. This is a can-do nation," she said.

Snow said she believes Americans can solve the partisan attitude of Congress by rewarding those who are willing to support good ideas, no matter what side they come from. Snowe said she has witnessed people coming together.

The key is willingness to listen, respecting different views and realizing that you are not going to get 100 percent of what you want, she said. "It takes courage to make government work," she said. "It takes courage to be bi-partisan."

Snowe said she had many good experiences during her career and some not so good. She said there were many good lawmakers in Washington, but more recently Congress has failed to undertake the difficult issues of the country. "Congress hasn't even passed a budget," she said.

Because of her long service, she remembers the years when there were reasonable moderates from both sides, allowing for an exchange of ideas respectfully across the isle. "More than half of the legislators now have been there less than six years," she said. "They don't know anything other than partisanship."

Americans wonder if and when things will change, Snowe said. She said she is asked everywhere she goes, "Why is achieving bi-partisanship so difficult?"

She said it will make a difference if lawmakers are held accountable for their actions. Therefore, she encourages communication with lawmakers.

Snowe spoke excitedly about the multiple avenues that constituents have in the electronic age to reach out and actually pressure their representatives. "There's social media," she said, pointing out when using Facebook or Twitter, lawmakers get immediate reactions from constituents. "Also, there's email, the telephone and writing letters," Snowe said.

As more evidence of problems in decision-making in Washington, Snowe pointed out Congress doesn't adhere to a five-day workweek. "They started taking votes on Monday night at 5 p.m. to get everyone back to town," Snowe said. "Come Thursday, they are talking about booking flights home, and, about recesses ... how can they go home when the people's work is not done?"

According to Snowe, in the most recent years, the Senate spent an average of just 6.5 hours per day in session - the second lowest since 1992.

Snowe urged Americans to visit and join the Bipartisan Policy Center at http://www.bipartisanpolicy.org.

After the talk, Jim Saunders, of Boothbay Harbor, thanked Senator Snowe for sharing her book and said, "There is hope we will get some leadership." Saunders comment evoked a round of applause from the audience.

Following the talk, Snowe signed copies of the book at Maine Coast Book Shop.

Related Links:
• Bipartisan Policy Center



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