Snowe mobile: Former Maine senator speaks at Emily Couric lunch

Once upon a time, "moderate Republican" was not considered an oxymoron. An example of that rare breed, former Maine Senator Olympia Snowe, was in Charlottesville March 18 as the Emily Couric Leadership Forum's woman of the year.

Time named Snowe one of the best U.S. senators in 2006, but in 2012 she announced she wouldn't seek a fourth term because of the polarizing partisanship that had ground congressional effectiveness to a halt.


Out of office for two months, Snowe notes some steps toward civility. "The president has made overtures toward the House and the Senate," she says. "That's important."


Snowe lists the challenges in the budget process of reconciling tax reform and entitlement reform. "One can't happen with the other," she predicts.

Neither side thought sequestration would happen, and both sides are being affected in ways they don't find acceptable, she adds.

"It's always important to talk to those with whom you disagree," says the senator. "We cannot afford to lose another year because of the failures in Washington."

At the event named in honor of state Senator Emily Couric, who died in 2001 from pancreatic cancer, each local high school nominates an outstanding young woman. The 2013 winner, Anjali Prahash of St. Anne's-Belfield, received a $30,000 scholarship. Each finalist gets $4,000, and Danielle Horridge of Albemarle High School was awarded an additional $5,000.

And to those young women who are the crรจme de la high school crop this year, Snowe advises, "Never relent on what you want to accomplish."