7 things I learned at Senator Olympia Snowe’s lecture

1528600_731761943500896_923142022_nThis Monday, the Taubman Center for Public Policy held its annual Noah Krieger ’93 Lecture, in which former Senator Olympia Snowe spoke on “Bridging the Divide.” Senator Olympia Snowe is best known for her work as a moderate Republican from Maine who served on, first, the U.S. House of Representatives and, later, the U.S. Senate. Her tenure was characterized by bipartisan aisle crossing, as famously seen during the trials regarding President Clinton’s impeachment.

Though she could’ve easily won reelection in 2012, Snowe retired from office due to her frustration with the lack of cooperation and bipartisanship in the Senate and Washington as a whole. She felt then, as she does now, that in order to change the climate of Congress, the fight for partisanship must be taken to the outside world. “Politics is too important to be left to politicians.”

Her lecture focused on this premise, elaborating on her current views of the state of Congress and its hyper-partisanship, citing reasons for its prominence, and offering solutions. So, without further ado, here are seven things I learned at Senator Snowe’s lecture:

#1 Olympia is one of a kind. At age 31, she became the youngest female Republican to ever be elected to the House of Representatives. She also is the only woman to ever be elected to both houses of her state’s legislature and U.S. Congress. In 2006, she was named one of America’s “10 Best Senators” by Time Magazine, the only female to be named such. Pretty badass.  Continue Reading

Bruno in the House?

Rep. Dan Maffei ’90 (D-NY), the only Brown alum in the 111th Congress, faced a tough race to hold onto his seat in New York’s 25th Congressional District.

With 96 percent of precincts reporting in the upstate district encompassing Onondaga, Wayne and parts of Cayuga and Monroe counties, Maffei had 50.6 percent of the vote, according to the New York Times. The first-term congressman was barely leading his Republican opponent, who trailed him by just over 2,000 votes, over five hours after New York State polls closed.

Though the Times still had not called the race by 3:15 a.m., Maffei maintained a slight lead. If he wins reelection, he will be joined in Congress for the next session by fellow alum, Providence Mayor David Cicilline ’83, who scored Rep. Patrick Kennedy’s seat earlier in the night.