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Sen. Snowe to Exit Senate After This Year

Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), a moderate Republican member of the Senate Commerce Committee that oversees the FCC, said Tuesday she will not be running for reelection this year after 33 years in Congress.

Snowe said in a statement that while she had laid a strong foundation for reelection and expected to win, she did not expect the partisanship of recent years' change and was not prepared to commit to another six years' worth.

"It is time for change in the way we govern, and I believe there are unique opportunities to build support for that change from outside the United States Senate," she said. "I intend to help give voice to my fellow citizens who believe, as I do, that we must return to an era of civility in government driven by a common purpose to fulfill the promise that is unique to America."

Snowe has sided with both Democrats and Republicans on some high-profile issues. In 2007, she voted with Democrat Byron Dorgan to block the FCC Chairman Kevin Martin's media ownership rule revamp. But in 2006 she supported his multicast must-carry proposal.

She teamed with Sen. John Kerry in 2010 to promote unlicensed devices in broadcast spectrum and again in 2011 on incentive auction legislation. But she had major problems with the FCC's Title II reclassification proposal that was supported by Kerry.

Snowe has been a friend to small cable operators in advocating for waivers of FCC requirements that could prove too much of an economic burden.