STAMFORD, CT - Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, will speak on civility in politics at a time when polls show a vast majority of Americans believe negative campaigning is hurting the political process.
Her talk will be held Wednesday, Oct. 17, at 5:30 at the Ferguson Library as part of a series on Civility in America, organized by the City of Stamford and The Dilenschneider Group.
Sacred Heart University and Purdue Pharma LP are sponsoring the series on civility in conjunction with Hearst Media Group in Connecticut and the Ferguson Library.
Future speakers in the series will include former Major League Baseball Commissioner Fay Vincent and Joel Klein, former Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education.
With her election in 1994, Snowe became only the second woman Senator in history to represent Maine, following the late Sen. Margaret Chase Smith, who served from 1949 -1973.
Snowe’s work in the U.S. Senate has earned her nationwide recognition as a leading policymaker in Washington. In 2005, she was named the 54th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes magazine.
In 2006 Time Magazine named her one of the top ten U.S. Senators. Time called Snowe “The Caretaker” and wrote: “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, but while Snowe is a major player on national issues, she is also known as one of the most effective advocates for her constituents.”
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. She has worked on issues like budget and fiscal responsibility; education, including student financial aid and education technology; national security; women’s issues; health care, including prescription drug coverage for Medicare recipients; welfare reform; oceans and fisheries issues; and campaign finance reform.
Snowe is only the fourth woman in history to be elected to both houses of Congress and the first woman in American history to serve in both houses of a state legislature and both houses of Congress.
Public opinion polls show that in every sector of society, civility has declined, and this decline is manifested in political attacks, lack of personal decency, outrage in the media and cyber-assaults in the blogosphere.
According to a recent poll conducted by Marist Institute for Public Opinion for the Knights of Columbus, 8 in 10 Americans (78 percent) say they are "frustrated" by the tone of political campaigns.
Almost three-quarters say the problem is getting worse: 74 percent believe that the tone of political campaigns has "gotten more negative" than in past election years. And by a nearly 20 point margin (56 to 37 percent), the public says the tone of political campaigns is "mostly uncivil and disrespectful."
“There is no question that we are in the midst of a very real civility crisis in America,” said Robert L. Dilenschneider of Darien, founder and president of the Dilenschneider Group, a strategic communications firm. “We and our nation’s leaders need to recognize the gravity of our current predicament and reassess the trajectory of our national discourse.”
Stamford Mayor Michael Pavia, who has spoken on the need for civility in
politics, said his goal is to make Stamford the most civil city in America.
“Nowhere else in the United States does a city have such a commitment of its citizens to effect real social change,” he said. “I am convinced this series will remind all of us of our heritage of civil discourse, which dates back to George Washington, and has continued throughout our history.”
Scheduled speakers for the Civility in America series include:
Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012, 6 pm -- Civility in Law Enforcement: William Bratton, former Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department as well as former New York City and Boston Police Commissioner. Mr. Bratton is now Chairman of Kroll.
Tuesday, December 4, 2012, 6 pm -- Civility in Management: Edward Reilly, President & CEO of American Management Association.
Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013, 6 pm -- Civility in Education: Joel Klein, former Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education and currently CEO of Amplify and EVP/Office of the Chairman at News Corporation.