The University of Arizona

Retiring GOP senators join civil discourse group

October 10, 2012

Sens. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) announced that they would join the National Institute for Civil Discourse’s advisory board Wednesday.

The two Republican senators are retiring at the end of this year. Snowe, known for being a bipartisan coalition builder, said she wouldn’t return to the Senate in 2013 because the growing partisanship in Washington has made it increasingly difficult to get things done. Lugar, also known for his bipartisanship, lost in his GOP primary to Tea Party candidate Richard Mourdock.

“The goals of the Institute parallel my long held belief that only by finding common ground, can we achieve the results for the common good,” Snowe said Wednesday about joining the board.

The National Institute for Civil Discourse (NICD) was established shortly after the Jan. 8, 2011, shootings, where then-Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.) was shot at a Tucson grocery store. NICD Executive Director Carolyn Lukensmeyer said Snowe and Lugar joining the board was “a major step in the Institute’s efforts to reduce the incivility in our political discourse.”

Lugar said he was excited about the new opportunity.

“The American people want constructive dialogue from their leaders and recognize the dangers to American unity that are inherent in unrelenting partisanship,” Lugar said in a statement Wednesday. “The NICD shares my conviction that problem solving and good governance depend greatly on the civility of our public discourse and the re-invigoration of bipartisanship in American politics.”