Senator Mikulski Becomes Longest Serving Woman Senator in US History
Today, January 5, 2011, Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) became the longest serving woman in the US Senate. Her accomplishments are legendary and historic. Among Mikulski’s many firsts is that she was the first woman to be elected statewide in Maryland; the first Democratic woman to serve in both chambers of the US Congress; and the first Democratic woman to be elected to the Senate without succeeding her husband or father. When Mikulski came to the Senate in 1987, there were two women Senators; today there are 17.
Throughout her career, Senator Mikulski has broken through one of the toughest and thickest glass ceilings in America. But as she always says, its not about gender, but about having an agenda. And what an agenda she has had. She has been a passionate advocate for women’s health, the space program and building Marylands infrastructure. Her proudest moments in office include authoring the Spousal Anti-Impoverishment Act, which helps to keep seniors from going bankrupt while coping with the costs of spouses’ nursing home care, and fighting to save the Hubble Space Telescope. There have been numerous news stories and television segments over the past few weeks; a wonderful profile was published today at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/04/AR2011010406320.html?sid=ST2011010500006
I worked for Senator Mikulski in the 1990s as her Chief of Staff, and have never worked for someone who was so dedicated to serving her constituents. She is tough, smart, and strategic; she works harder than anyone else period – and constantly challenged all of us to look at the policy world through the eyes of everyday people.
Senator Mikulski has also opened the doors for other women to serve in the Senate, and she has been an amazing mentor to many women. She is a fierce partisan, but, she knows the importance of bi-partisanship. She has consistently brought together all of the women Senators, regardless of party, and helped them learn the rules and traditions of the Senate.
Senator Mikulski opened the door just a bit wider for the 22 women who have followed her to the Senate. (Seventeen women Senators serve today.) And because of all of them, there are more doors that are wider open for countless other women who will follow.
To an amazing woman, and an amazing career.