Former Sen. Snowe to headline UMSL Public Ethics Conference

Former Sen. Olympia Snowe

Former Sen. Olympia Snowe will deliver the keynote “What’s Gone Wrong in Washington, and Why It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way” at 1:50 p.m. on Nov. 14. The address is part of the third annual Public Ethics Conference at UMSL. (Photo by John Gillooly)

Compromise has become a dirty word in politics, according to former Sen. Olympia Snowe.

“(Politicians are) more concerned about their re-elections than they are taking a risk by working across the political aisle,” Snowe said on a recent episode of “St. Louis on the Air” on St. Louis Public Radio | 90.7 KWMU. “Ultimately, the American people are victims to this polarization and partisanship.”

Snowe was a guest of the local NPR affiliate’s program in advance of her headlining role for the third annual Public Ethics Conference at the University of Missouri–St. Louis. She will deliver the keynote “What’s Gone Wrong in Washington, and Why It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way” at 1:50 p.m. on Nov. 14. The conference, “The Ethics of Political Dysfunction: What To Do When the System Breaks Down,” will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 14 in Century Room A at UMSL’s Millennium Student Center.

Snowe, a three-term Republican senator from Maine, cited partisanship for her decision to not seek re-election in 2012. She told St. Louis Public Radio that partisanship is causing citizens to lose faith in their elected officials.

“The only way that can be reversed is in the hands of those who will be elected in this election year, and whether or not they’re prepared to jettison the politics of the past and move this country forward by being willing to work with the other side,” she said.

Visit the St. Louis Public Radio website for more information about the Public Ethics Conference at UMSL.

In addition to Snowe’s keynote, the conference will feature the following:

• “Out of Balance: Partisanship Over Governance in Contemporary Politics,” a presentation by Laurel Harbridge, Faculty Fellow at the Institute of Policy Research at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill.
• A Missouri legislative dysfunction panel featuring: former state Sen. Tim Green, former Missouri House of Representatives Speakers Catherine Hanaway, former state Rep. Chris Kelly and state Sen. Will Kraus
• Government dysfunction at the local level panel featuring: former Hazelwood, Mo., Mayor T.R. Carr, local municipal attorney Kevin O’Keefe, Velda City, Mo., Municipal Court Judge Wesley Bell and St. Louis Alderman Antonio French.
• Interactive welcome discussion with Wally Siewert, director of UMSL’s Center for Ethics in Public Life

Visit the UMSL Center for Ethics in Public Life website for more information about the conference.

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