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A Tribute to Sen. Snowe - A Supporter of Rational Spectrum Policy

This week Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) announced her intention to retire from Congress. Her official bio states “Focusing her attention on efforts to build bipartisan consensus on key issues that matter to Maine and America, Snowe has built a reputation as one of the Congress’ leading moderates.” CNN’s appropriate headline was “Citing partisanship, Snowe stuns with departure news”. ABC quotes her as saying about her decision,

“As I have long said, what motivates me is producing results for those who have entrusted me to be their voice and their champion, and I am filled with that same sense of responsibility today as I was on my first day in the Maine House of Representatives. I do find it frustrating, however, that an atmosphere of polarization and ‘my way or the highway’ ideologies has become pervasive in campaigns and in our governing institutions.

“With my Spartan ancestry I am a fighter at heart; and I am well prepared for the electoral battle, so that is not the issue. However, what I have had to consider is how productive an additional term would be. Unfortunately, I do not realistically expect the partisanship of recent years in the Senate to change over the short term.”

As a former “Massachusetts moderate Republican” myself, I will miss this breath of fresh air that is increasingly rare in today’s politics.

Sen. Snowe has been very active in promoting spectrum legislation. She introduced incentive auction legislation in March 2011. In July 2010 she introduced the Spectrum Measurement and Policy Reform Act. In March 2011 she introduced a bill to allow commissioners to appoint technical advisers and require the National Academy of Sciences to study the FCC's technical policy and policymaking decisions and the personnel available to inform those decisions. She also was active on legislation to limit taxes on cell phone use.

One of Sen. Snowe’s great contributions to spectrum policy deliberations was having a knowledgeable staffer, Matt Hussey, who spent a lot of time on spectrum issues and was very accessible to a wide range of people as he sought out a variety of viewpoints for her office.

Sen Snowe contributed greatly to spectrum policy issues and will be missed. Here is a great interview with her on a wide number of issues, unfortunately not including spectrum: