Olympia Snowe has spent the last 33 years in Washington -- 33 years that have made her one of the wealthiest people in America. Lately, that wealth has been showing up in her votes.
When Snowe voted against the Senate jobs bill in October, she identified only one provision of the bill she disagreed with: the surcharge on taxpayers who earn more than $1 million in adjusted gross income.
According to a study by Citizens for Tax Justice, only one-tenth of one percent of Maine taxpayers would be affected by the surcharge -- about 375 people.
The legislation would have created 2 million new jobs and cut taxes for virtually all Maine taxpayers. While her constituents struggle to survive the bleakest economic conditions in generations, a small segment of Mainers -- 375 -- have a senator on their side.
Did she vote against a small tax increase for only 375 Mainers because she is one of us? Or one of them?
According to the Media Matters Action Network, Snowe's estimated net worth -- between $12.6 million and $44.7 million -- makes her the 10th richest member of the Senate, a millionaire's club in itself.
Snowe's vote against the jobs bill is thus much easier to understand, since Snowe and her husband are among those fortunate few.
Everyone knows we need to change the dynamic in Washington to protect the many against the privileges of the few, to unleash the middle class and create a broad-based economic recovery.
But we can't keep sending the same people over and over again and expect a different outcome.
We've sent Olympia Snowe to Washington for 33 straight years. Meanwhile, the world has changed.
It's time Maine has a senator who is one of the people. A member of the middle class who wants to reduce taxes on middle-class families. Someone who demands those who have reaped the biggest rewards pay their fair share to the nation that nourished that wealth, and that those responsible for the driving the financial system off a cliff are fully investigated and, if appropriate, prosecuted or removed from office.