Issue One welcomes two Maine Republican lawmakers to the ReFormers Caucus — former Senator Olympia Snowe and former Governor John McKernan. The ReFormers Caucus is comprised of over 175 former members of Congress from both parties assembled on behalf of reform.
At the age of 31, Senator Snowe was the youngest Republican woman, and the first Greek-American woman, ever elected to the House. She represented Maine’s 2nd District from 1979 to 1995 before moving on to her 18-year career in the Senate (1995 to 2013).
In the Senate, Senator Snowe served on the Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation and the Select Committee on Intelligence. She chaired the Small Business Committee and was the first Republican woman to secure a full-term seat on the Finance Committee. Senator Snowe was also the first woman to chair the Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower, which oversees the Navy and Marine Corps.
In April 2006, Time magazine named Snowe “the Provider” in a list of the ten best American Senators: “Because of her centrist views and eagerness to get beyond partisan point scoring, Maine Republican Olympia Snowe is in the center of every policy debate in Washington.” The previous year, Forbes ranked her the 54th most powerful woman in the world.
Senator Snowe was a key player in the passage of the landmark Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act (BCRA) or McCain-Feingold, and co-sponsored Senate campaign contribution e-filing legislation. In her 35 years as an elected official, she never lost an election.
Currently, Senator Snowe is a senior fellow for the Bipartisan Policy Center, a DC-based think tank focused on working across the aisle; and she co-chairs its Commission on Political Reform. With leftover campaign funds, Senator Snowe founded Olympia’s List, a political action committee established to support candidates dedicated to consensus-building. She also launched the Olympia Snowe Women’s Leadership Institute, “helping future generations of young women become leaders by raising their confidence and aspirations” through a three-year high school program.
Governor McKernan also started his political career at a young age, elected to the Maine House of Representatives at 24. In the U.S. House, Governor McKernan represented Maine’s 1st District from 1983 to 1987 before becoming governor in 1987 for two four-year terms.
Governor McKernan focused on the Maine economy, supporting job training programs and the University of Maine system to draw employment into areas needing revitalization, creating “centers of innovation” and “opportunity zones.”
Governor McKernan served as a senior advisor and past president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Currently, he is the chairman and CEO of McKernan Enterprises and Nottingham Equity, as well as a director of Education Management Corporation.
We are delighted to welcome the energy and leadership of Senator Snowe and Governor McKernan to the ReFormers Caucus. Their commitment to bipartisanship and unique insights will strengthen the momentum necessary to generate consensus around solutions and restore trust in our democratic institutions.