AUGUSTA – In a speech to business leaders Friday, U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe praised small businesses and pledged to keep working to improve the Senate from the outside after she retires in January.

Snowe was the keynote speaker and guest of honor at the Maine State Chamber of Commerce’s annual dinner at the Augusta Civic Center.

She received the 2012 Alton “Chuck” Cianchette Business Hall of Fame Award and was lauded for her attention to military issues, fiscal responsibility and the needs of Maine businesses.

A tribute video shown at the event featured comments from Maine residents, Democratic and Republican senators and former President George H.W. Bush, who all praised Snowe for her hard work and drive to find bipartisan solutions to national problems.

Snowe, a moderate Republican, said she has been told that when she was a baby, Republican and Democratic legislators held her in their laps when they ate at her parents’ diner near the State House.

“I thought to myself, ‘Well, there. That’s how bipartisanship was ingrained in my political DNA,’ ” she said.

Snowe said she is leaving the Senate to help return it to a place where political passions are tempered.

“The atmosphere in Washington is deeply regrettable, but it is not irreparable,” she said. “We can fight and reverse the tide of gridlock and absolutism, and that’s what I intend to do in my days ahead.”

Snowe said everyone can help by voting for people who will work toward common ground and against those who won’t. 

Kennebec Journal Staff Writer Susan McMillan can be contacted at 621-5645 or at:

[email protected]

 

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