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Senator Olympia Snowe

January 1, 2001

2001 – Falmouth, Maine & Washington, DC

In November 2001, Olympia J. Snowe (R-ME) was re-elected to continue representing Maine in the US Senate. She has led the way in building bipartisan consensus and is currently co-chair with Sen. John Breaux (D-LA) of the Senate Centrist Coalition. The former Olympia Jean Bouchles was born in Augusta and raised by an aunt and uncle after the death of her immigrant parents. She earned a degree in political science from the University of Maine and began serving in public office in 1973 when elected to the Maine House to the seat left vacant by the auto accident of her first husband, Peter Snowe. Before her election to the Senate, she represented Maine�s Second Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives for sixteen years. Following in the footsteps of the late Sen. Margaret Chase Smith (R-ME, Northwood Distinguished Woman �76), she was only the fourth woman to be elected to both houses of Congress and the first woman in American history to serve in both houses of a state legislature and both houses of Congress. When elected to Congress in 1978, at age 31, she was the youngest Republican woman, and the first Greek-American woman, ever elected to Congress. Additionally, when she married Maine Governor John R. McKernan, Jr. in February 1989, she became the first woman to serve as a state�s First Lady and a member of Congress simultaneously. Senator Snowe is the first Republican woman to secure a full-term seat on the Senate Finance Committee. During her first year on the committee, Snowe spearheaded the successful bipartisan effort to double the child tax credit and make it refundable. She is member on the Subcommittee on Health Care and is a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, the Senate Small Business Committee, and the Senate Budget Committee. Other credits include co-chairing the Congressional Caucus on Women�s Issues for 10 years, and providing key leadership in establishing the Office of Women�s Health at the National Institute of Health.