Olympia Snowe Hopes to Fix Partisan Congress Once She Leaves It

Retiring Maine senator calls for incentives for compromise, says she'll do her part from the outside.

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It's certainly a sign of the times that a senator who most echoes the voice of the millions of Americans lamenting the political gridlock chose to leave Congress after 30 years because she felt she could continue her public service more effectively elsewhere.

"In the last two years we have wasted precious time in the life of America by all the political dithering and concentrating on who's going to have a better political position, as opposed to what's best for the country," she said. "And that's, I think, the travesty of it all. We haven't wrestled with those big questions, we've deferred them and we work on the margins."

Snowe, who hasn't formally announced any post-Senate plans, has said she's likely to use her about $2 million war chest to support the kinds of "solutions-minded" candidates she talked about as well as become an advocate for good government.

"I will speak to that question, absolutely, because I do think it's important for someone who has been inside the system to do so," she said.

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  • Rebekah Metzler is a political writer for U.S. News & World Report. You can contact her at rmetzler@usnews.com or follow her on Twitter.