Elle Magazine editors announced Wednesday morning that Susan Collins, the Republican U.S. senator from Maine, has been named to its 2014 list of the “ 10 Most Powerful Women in Washington.”
“Republican Sen. Susan Collins from Maine … is just such an interesting person but also really fundamental in helping break up the gridlock in Washington, D.C., around the shutdown,” said Elle editor-in-chief Robbie Myers, who appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” to unveil the list.
Elle’s “power list,” now in its third year, includes Collins, Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, Hillary Clinton adviser Cheryl Mills, Washington, D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier, former U.S. chief of protocol Capricia Marshall, Democratic Congresswoman from Hawaii Tulsi Hubbard, Center for American Progress President Neera Tanden, NARAL President Ilyse Hogue, CNN journalist Dana Bash, and Kim Kingsley, chief operating officer of the website Politico.
Collins is featured in a striking green dress in a glamorous photo taken by fashion photographer Francois Dischinger. She is quoted in her brief profile saying that if there were as many Republican women in Congress as there were Democrat women, things just might run a little more smoothly.
“Women would be a third of Congress. I’d argue there would be a better balance and more people in the center, which is of great importance to me,” said Collins in her Elle interview. “Women span the ideological spectrum. We don’t think alike, but we do bring a different life experience and perspective. We tend to be more collaborative and problem solving. There has been a real effort in this cycle to recruit women to run on the Republican ticket. I’m optimistic we can increase our numbers.”
The Elle list looks for women who are powerful in national politics, whether in Congress or not, and also have a sense of style to match. Previous people named to the list include New York junior Sen. Kristen Gillibrand, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, journalists Christiane Amanpour and Andrea Mitchell, and ambassador Susan Rice.
Collins, 61, is a Caribou native who has served in the Senate since 1997. She began her career working in former Sen. William Cohen’s office, whose senate seat she eventually took over when she won the 1996 Maine senate race. She is the ranking member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, and she was the chair of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security from 2003-07.
Collins is running for re-election this year; Democratic candidate Shenna Bellows is currently her main opponent.