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Barbara Mikulski  -  (D) United States
The people of Maryland elected Senator Barbara A. Mikulski to be their U.S. Senator because she's a fighter - looking out for the day-to-day needs of Marylanders and the long-range needs of the nation.
Growing up in the Highlandtown neighborhood of East Baltimore, Mikulski learned the values of hard work, neighbor helping neighbor and heartfelt patriotism. She often saw her father open the family grocery store early so local steelworkers could buy lunch before the morning shift.
Determined to make a difference in her community, Mikulski became a social worker in Baltimore, helping at-risk children and educating seniors about the Medicare program. Social work evolved into community activism when Mikulski successfully organized communities against a plan to build a 16-lane highway through Baltimore's Fells Point neighborhood. She helped stop the road, saving Fells Point and Baltimore's Inner Harbor, both thriving residential and commercial communities today.
Mikulski is a trailblazer. Her first election was a successful run for Baltimore City Council in 1971, where she served for five years. In 1976, she ran for Congress and won, representing Maryland's 3rd district for 10 years. In 1986, she ran for Senate and won, becoming the first Democratic woman Senator elected in her own right. She was re-elected with large majorities in 1992, 1998, 2004 and 2010.
A leader in the Senate, Mikulski is the Dean of the Women - serving as a mentor to other women Senators when they first take office. As the dean, she builds coalitions - proving that the Senate women are not solo acts, but work together to get things done.
When she was sworn into office on January 5, 2011, Mikulski became the longest serving woman Senator in U.S. history. On March 17, 2012 she became the longest-serving woman in the history of the United States Congress. Of these milestones, she says, 'It's not about how long I serve, but about how well I serve my state and my nation.'
On December 20, 2012, Mikulski became the first woman and first Marylander to chair the Senate Appropriations Committee, on which she has served since she arrived in the Senate in 1987.
Mikulski's experiences as a social worker and activist provided valuable lessons that she draws on as a United States Senator. She believes her constituents have a right to know, a right to be heard and a right to be represented. She listens to her constituents and makes the personal, political.