WASHINGTON – United States Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., Chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, made the following statement today reacting to last night’s announcement that the committee’s Ranking Member, Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, will not seek re-election to the Senate:

“Olympia’s retirement from the Senate is bittersweet. I am happy that she reached this decision on her own terms, but the void left by her departure from the Senate should not be overlooked. America’s small businesses are losing a strong champion. The people of Maine are losing a tireless advocate. And the Senate is losing yet another voice of reason and moderation, who is willing to work across party lines to do what is best for the American people.

“For nearly four decades, Olympia Snowe has been a dedicated public servant and an outstanding role model for young women. While I am sad to see her leave, it is my hope that this will serve as a wake-up call that we cannot continue to allow the divisive, hyper-partisan atmosphere in the Senate continue to drive out our moderate members.

“In 2009, Olympia and I made history by becoming the first two female lawmakers to lead a full committee in the U.S. Congress. During our four years as Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, there were many tough battles, but more often than not, they resulted in important victories on behalf of small businesses across the country. We were able to find a way to work through our differences and focus on our common goal to make government work for America’s job creators. I am optimistic that these final 10 months we have to lead this committee together will be productive.

“I wish my friend and colleague all the best as she continues what is now her final year in the Senate and begins to prepare for the next chapter of her life.”