ENG: Barbara Ann Mikulski (born July 20, 1936) is the senior United States Senator from Maryland and a member of the Democratic Party. Mikulski, the first woman elected to the Senate from Maryland, is the longest-serving female senator and the second longest-serving female member in the history of the United States Congress (only after Edith Nourse Rogers). If she stays in office until March 17, 2012, she will become the longest-serving female member in the history of the United States Congress. Mikulski is chairwoman of the Health Subcommittee on Retirement and Aging and Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies, and is a member of the Select Committee on Intelligence. Mikulski is the longest serving present Senator who has never been the chairperson of a full standing committee, and Mikulski is the longest serving/highest ranking Democrat who is not a present chairperson of a full standing committee of the U.S. Senate.
Early life, education and career
The great-granddaughter of Polish immigrants who owned a local bakery, Barbara Mikulski is the oldest of three daughters of Christine Eleanor (née Kutz) and William Mikulski.She was born and raised in the Highlandtown neighborhood of East Baltimore.
During her high school years at the Institute of Notre Dame, she worked in her parents' grocery store, delivering groceries to seniors in her neighborhood who were unable to leave their homes.
After graduating from Mount Saint Agnes College (now a part of the Loyola College in Maryland), she obtained her masters degree in social work (MSW) from the University of Maryland School of Social Work. She worked as a social worker for Catholic charities and Baltimore's Department of Social Services, helping at-risk children and educating seniors about the Medicare program. Mikulski became an activist social worker when she heard about plans to build a 16-lane highway through Baltimore's Fells Point and Canton neighborhoods. She helped organize communities on both sides of the city and stopped the construction of the road, saving Fells Point and Baltimore's Inner Harbor.
Mikulski received her first national attention in 1970 as a result of a conference at Catholic University regarding “Ethnic Americans” convened by Msgr. Geno Baroni. Her message became one of the major documents of the “ethnic movement”.
Mikulski's activism led to a seat on the Baltimore City Council in 1971. She was an unsuccessful candidate for the U.S. Senate in 1974. She was defeated by the Republican incumbent, Charles Mathias, Jr.. It turned out to be the only time that Mikulski ever lost an election. In 1976, she was elected to become a member of the United States House of Representatives, representing Maryland's 3rd congressional district from 1977 to 1987, thanks to the retirement of incumbent Paul Sarbanes, who made a successful run for the U.S. Senate. She was easily elected, winning 76% of the vote. She was re-elected four more times, never facing substantive opposition in the heavily Democratic district.
In September 2009, it was revealed in a "tell all" book that during the 2000 presidential election, President Bill Clinton suggested Mikulski as a running mate for Al Gore, who instead chose her colleague Joe Lieberman. In 2007, Mikulski endorsed her colleague, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) for President of the United States, praising her as a leader and citing her desire to break the "glass ceiling" by electing the first woman president.
Mikulski is one of 11 senators to vote against both the 1991 and 2002 resolutions authorizing the use of force in Iraq.Mikulski has opposed predatory lending, and has had been an outspoken opponent against Fairbanks Capital, alleged to have illegally foreclosed on over 100 homes in Maryland.She is also a strong supporter of NASA and expanding space exploration. Mikulski voted in favor of the FISA bill, which granted immunity to the telecom companies who cooperated with the warrantless wiretapping of U.S. citizens.On October 1, 2008, Mikulski voted in favor of HR1424, the Senate version of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, providing a $700 billion bail out to the United States financial market.
In 1986 Mathias announced his retirement from politics. At the time of this announcement, it was expected that then-Governor Harry Hughes would run for the seat being vacated by retiring Senator Mathias. However, Hughes became caught up in the aftermath of the Maryland savings and loan crisis. He lost popularity with voters, opening the door for Mikulski's bid for the Senate. During the campaign, her opponent, Linda Chavez, made comments that Mikulski's supporters interpreted as an attempt to draw attention to the issue of Mikulski's sexual orientation. Mikulski never directly responded to the issue and eventually won the race with 61 percent of the vote. She was the first female Democrat elected to the U.S. Senate in her own right (not appointed or filling a seat of a deceased husband). Mikulski, popularly known as "Senator Barb," was re-elected with large majorities in 1992, 1998, 2004, and 2010 . Having won reelection in 2010, she has surpassed Margaret Chase Smith as the longest-serving female senator. ABC News named Mikulski its Person of the Week for that milestone.
August 1st, 2011