At a Glance
- Career History: U.S. Representative (1978 to 1994); Maine State Senator (1976 to 1978); Maine House (1973 to 1976)
- Birthday: Feb. 21, 1947
- Hometown: Auburn, Maine
- Alma Mater: University of Maine, B.A. (Political Science), 1969
- Spouse: John R. McKernan, Jr.
- Religion: Greek Orthodox
- Committees: Senate Finance Committee, Small Business & Entrepreneurship (ranking member); Select Committee on Intelligence; Commerce, Science & Transportation
- DC Office: 154 Russell Senate Office Building, 202-224-5344
- State Office: Auburn, 207-786-2451; Augusta, 207-622-8292; Bangor, 207-945-0432; Biddeford, 207-282-4144; Portland, 207-874-0883; Presque Isle, 207-764-5124
Path to Power
Snowe was born in Augusta, Maine, to a father born in Greece and a mother whose parents emigrated from Sparta. Both her parents died when she was a child, and she was raised by her aunt and uncle in Auburn, Maine. She attended grade school at St. Basil's Academy, a New York private Greek Orthodox school, then returned to Maine where she graduated from Little High School in Auburn.
Snowe entered politics in 1973, when she was elected to fill the seat of her late husband, state Rep. Peter Snowe, who died in a car accident that year.
Snowe is one of a dying breed of moderate Republican lawmakers that have been traditionally elected from the Northeast. As such, she typically plays a pivotal role in the divided Senate, where her vote on big issues is eagerly courted by both Democrats and Republicans. She usually votes with her party on defense and foreign policy matters, while breaking with Democrats on economic and cultural issues.
In the 111th Congress, Snowe has voted with her party just 58.2 percent of the time, a measure equal to that of her Maine colleague, Sen. Susan Collins (R).
As one of the Senate's only remaining moderate Republicans, Snowe and former Sen. John Breaux (D-La.) headed the Centrist Coalition. She also co-chairs with Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) the Common Ground Coalition, a centrist group that focuses on improving communication between Senate Democrats and Republicans and has been an outspoken advocate of increasing communication across the aisle.
She is a key member of the Senate Finance Committee, where she works with chairman Max Baucus and ranking member Charles Grassley to craft compromise bills. And she works closely with fellow Maine senator, woman and Republican, Susan Collins.