Senator Olympia Snowe has won a major victory in the U.S. Elections of November 7. She was re-elected to another term in the U.S. Senate, capturing 73% of the vote in her state. On this occasion the Voice of America produced a video profile of the Senator from Maine, appropriately named “The Olympia Snowe Story”, which aired as part of an election night special presentation for affiliates in Greece and Cyprus. The program, presented in Greek, was entitled “Elections 2006: Greek-Americans Reaching for The Dream”. Following is the English text of “The Olympia Snowe Story” segment of the program, including the Anchorman’s introduction and lead out comments.
MR. BISTIS INTRO: Let us now go north, where Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine is seeking re-election to another term.
“THE OLYMPIA SNOWE STORY” VIDEO SEGMENT
MR. BISTIS: Olympia Snowe was born in a small town of Maine shortly after the end of the World War II. Her father, George Bouchlis had emigrated to the U.S. from the island of Mytilini. Her mother was Georgia Goranitis, whose family had come from Sparta, Greece.
George and Georgia were thrilled that the war in Europe, which had caused so much death and destruction, was over. As the leaders of 50 countries gathered in San Francisco to sign the documents that would establish the United Nations Organization, Olympia’s parents were looking forward to the promise of a new joyful and peaceful era. That era came but unfortunately the two parents did not live long enough to enjoy it and take pride in their young daughter’s upbringing. They died before Olympia reached the age of 10. An uncle and an aunt from her mother’s side of the family, James and Mary Goranitis, helped raise Olympia. James was a barber and Mary was a textile mill worker, in a small town of Maine.
Today, Olympia Snowe is one of the most important figures in the U.S. political life and wants to keep it this way. That is why she reminds her constituents….
SENATOR OLYMPIA SNOWE: One voice and one vote can make a difference.
CAMPAIGN MESSAGE EXCERPT: If they were more like her Washington would be a different place. An independent voice. Time magazine named her one of the 10 best Senators. A major player on national issues. One of the most effective advocates for her constituents. Olympia Snowe.
MR. BISTIS: Young Olympia Bouchlis grew up in the days that the world was fascinated with America’s Mercury space program, which laid the ground work for the historic mission of sending the first man to the moon and returning him safely to earth. The coming of the space era reinforced on many people’s minds the importance of education for the future wellbeing of their children. Education was particularly important for Olympia, since she had no parents to help her get a good start in life. If she was to make it in this world she had to do it all by herself.
Olympia graduated from St. Basil’s Academy, a school run by the Greek-Orthodox Archdiocese in Garrison, New York, in 1962. A year later, as she was a freshman in college, the nation experienced the trauma of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. She studied political science and shortly after graduating from college, Olympia married Congressman Peter Snowe, who also did not stay for too long in her life. She later remarried with former Governor John McKernan. When Peter Snowe passed away, Olympia filled the Congressional seat vacated by his death, and a few years later she was elected to the U.S. Senate, where she continues to serve.
SENATOR OLYMPIA SNOWE: There is too much partisan politics in Washington and I am fighting everyday to change that. We need people to work together. That’s what I have done and that’s what I will continue to do.
CAMPAGN MESSAGE EXCERPT: Whether it's been leading the fight to reduce the deficit or to get prescription drug coverage for seniors, whether it's been taking on the establishment to preserve Maine's military facilities or standing up for the rights of women Olympia Snowe is making a difference for Maine and America. U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe. Imagine if there were more like her.
MR. BISTIS: Although Olympia Snowe has climbed so high on the U.S. leadership ladder, she never forgot her roots and is always proud of her heritage. Olympia Snowe is a member of the Holy Trinity Greek-Orthodox Church in Lewiston, Maine and supports the work of Greek-American organizations like AHEPA (American Hellenic Educational and Progressive Association), particularly it’s women’s branch, known as “Daughters of Penelope”.
END OF VIDEO SEGMENT – RETURN TO VOA STUDIO
MR. BISTIS: The people of Maine gave an overwhelming vote of confidence to Olympia Snowe and are returning her to Washington for a third 6-year term in the U.S. Senate. Ms. Snowe will be the only Greek-American member of the Senate for at least the next 2 years. Her Democratic colleague, Paul Sarbanes of Maryland, is retiring at the end of the year after a distinguished service of 3 decades in the U.S. Senate.