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. On March 17, 2012 she became the longest serving woman in the history of the United States Congress.
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.
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.
Putting Values Into Action
As a United States Senator, Mikulski puts her values into action to make a difference in people's lives.
- Fighting for access to quality education. Mikulski is working for every student to have access to higher education so they can follow the American dream. She has been fighting to double Pell grants, to institute a tuition tax credit and for public schools families can depend on.
- Standing up for America's seniors. Mikulski is a strong supporter of the Older Americans Act and is fighting for pensions people can count on. She wrote the Spousal Anti-Impoverishment Act to keep seniors from going bankrupt while paying for a spouse's nursing home care. She fights to reform Medicare.
- Working on the side of cures and research. Mikulski is fighting to increase Alzheimer's and stem cell research. She has also worked to increase the budget for the National Institutes of Health and continues to be a leader in increasing funding for uterine fibroid research.
- Continuing to lead on women's health. Mikulski fought to have women included in clinical trials and medical research at the National Institutes of Health. She wrote the law requiring federal standards for mammograms and fought for uninsured women to get screenings and treatment for breast and cervical cancer.
- Fighting for America's veterans. Mikulski believes promises made to our veterans must be promises kept. She works for affordable, accessible, compassionate and competent veteran health care. She fights to improve veteran services, benefits and Maryland facilities.
- Supporting volunteers and national service. Mikulski is a large advocate of the hard work and the spirit of volunteerism embodied by AmeriCorps and fights to ensure it is adequately supported.
Preparing America for the Future
Mikulski is committed to a safer, stronger and smarter Maryland and nation. That means protecting America from terrorism and making investments in science, technology and innovation.
- Setting the stage for the next century of America's innovation economy. Mikulski believes we are in an amazing race for discovery and new knowledge to remain competitive and to foster an innovation society. She is working to ensure America keeps its leading edge in science and technology. Her Freedom to Achieve Initiative promotes competitiveness abroad and opportunities at home to compete in the global workplace.
- Supporting innovation at Maryland military and science institutions. In tours of statewide facilities working toward an innovation economy, Mikulski applauds the development of smarter tools for our military, innovative technology and programs, and new jobs for the state.
- Working hard to protect America. Mikulski supported the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, and she worked with her colleagues from Maryland and Virginia to make sure there is a National Capital Region coordinator at the new agency. She is a leader in the fight for more federal investment in hometown security.
- Fighting for our first responders. Mikulski fights every year for increased funding for FEMA's fire grant program to protect our protectors. Grants help local fire departments buy equipment and protective gear.
- Advocating for space exploration and scientific inquiry. As the senior Democrat on the Appropriations Subcommittee that funds NASA, Mikulski supports the Hubble Telescope, Mission to Planet Earth, and other science and space programs. This year, Mikulski is leading the fight to provide $1 billion in federal funding to pay back NASA for the costs of returning the Space Shuttle to flight.
Delivering for Maryland
Mikulski has never forgotten her roots. Throughout her career, she has returned home each night to her home city of Baltimore. From community activist to U.S. Senator, she has never changed her view that all politics and policy is local and that her job is to serve the people in their day-to-day needs as well as prepare this country for the future.
- Saving the Chesapeake Bay. Mikulski fights to improve the Bay's health and looks out for the people who depend on it for their livelihoods.
- Building communities. Mikulski is building communities where Marylanders can work, live, play and pray. She is a leader in the fight against flipping and predatory lending. She helped change the face of public housing by creating HOPE VI B a program that replaces high-rise slums with livable communities.
- Making Maryland safe for families. Mikulski is working to increase funding for cops on the street and law enforcement partnerships throughout the state. She has fought for critical funding to launch a statewide anti-gang initiative.
- Keeping Marylanders on the move. Mikulski fights every year for a federal investment in Maryland's public transportation systems, roadways, airports and waterways.
Barbara A. Mikulski is proud to be the Senator from Maryland and for Maryland.
For a version of the Senator Mikulski's biography in Spanish, click Here.
To read about a typical day for Senator Mikulski, click Here.