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The Boston Globe

Politics

In farewell speech, Snowe pleads for less polarization

PORTLAND, Maine — With her entire staff on the Senate floor and her husband watching from the gallery, Senator Olympia J. Snowe delivered a plea to her colleagues Thursday to overcome “excessive political polarization’’ to work together to reach consensus on the ‘‘fiscal cliff’’ and other important issues.

The Maine Republican, known for her fierce independence, lamented that the Senate has evolved into something akin to a parliamentary system, where members vote in party blocs, promoting corrosive partisanship that has led only to gridlock.

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