1629 Thames Street, Suite 400
Baltimore, Maryland 21231
Home Town: Baltimore, MD
Committees: Appropriations, Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, Select Intelligence
A History of Helping Others and Building Communities
Growing up in the Highlandtown neighborhood of East Baltimore, Senator 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. Attending local Catholic school, Mikulski was inspired by the Christopher social movement. Their motto "It's better to light one candle, than to curse the darkness" became one her guiding principles.
Determined to make a difference in her community, Mikulski became a social worker. She worked for Catholic Charities and Baltimore's Department of Social Services, helping at-risk children and educating seniors about the Medicare program.
Social work evolved into community activism when Mikulski heard about plans to build a 16 lane highway through Baltimore's Fells Point neighborhood. She helped organize communities on both sides of the city and stopped the road, saving Fells Point and Baltimore's Inner Harbor, both thriving residential and commercial communities today.
Her experiences as a social worker and activist provided valuable lessons that Mikulski 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. She builds coalitions to get things done.
Putting Values Into Action
As a United States Senator, Mikulski puts her values into action to make a difference in people's lives.
â€¢ She stands up for America's seniors. Mikulski wrote the landmark Spousal Anti-Impoverishment Act to keep seniors from going bankrupt to pay for a spouse's nursing home care. She continues to fight for a prescription drug benefit under Medicare.
â€¢ She is a leader on women's health. Senator Mikulski fought to have women included in clinical trials and medical research at the National Institutes of Health. She doubled NIH's funding for important health research. Mikulski wrote the law requiring federal standards for mammograms, and she backed legislation to help uninsured women get screenings and treatment for breast and cervical cancer.
â€¢ She fights for our veterans. As the senior Democrat on the Appropriations Subcommittee that funds the Departments Veterans Affairs, she fights to put more money in the federal checkbook for veterans healthcare. Senator Mikulski is standing firm against toll charges on access to health care for America's veterans.
â€¢ She builds communities. Senator Mikulski is a leader in the fight against flipping and predatory lending. After seeing how housing scams were bankrupting homeowners and destroying communities in Baltimore, Senator Mikulski worked with the HUD Secretary to set up a National Flipping Taskforce. She helped change the face of public housing by creating HOPE VI â€“ a program that replaces high-rise slums with livable communities.
Preparing America for the Future
Mikulski is committed to preparing America for the future. That means protecting America from terrorism and making investments in science and technology.
â€¢ Senator Mikulski works hard to protect America. She supported the creation of the Department of Homeland Security. 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.
â€¢ She is champion of our first responders. Senator Mikulski increased funding for FEMA's fire grant program from $150 million in 2001 to $745 million in 2003. FEMA Fire Grants help local fire departments buy equipment and protective gear.
â€¢ Mikulski is an advocate for space exploration and scientific inquiry. As the senior Democrat on the Appropriations Subcommittee that funds NASA, she supports the Hubble Telescope, Mission to Planet Earth and other science and space programs.
â€¢ Mikulski understands that 21st century jobs require 21st century skills. She is fighting to double funding for the National Science Foundation to expand opportunities for math and science education. She is fighting to close the digital divide. She pushed legislation to create Community Technology Centers, giving families in underserved urban and rural areas access to technology.
Chronology of Public Service
Mikulski's first election was a successful run for Baltimore City Council in 1971. She served as a councilwoman for five years. In 1976 she ran for Congress and won, representing Maryland's 3rd district for 10 years.
In 1986, Barbara Mikulski ran for the Senate seat vacated by retiring Senator Mack Mathias. She won the race with 61% of the vote and was re-elected with large majorities in 1992 and 1998. She is the third highest ranking member of the Senate Democratic leadership and the dean of the Senate women.
Senator Mikulski has never forgotten her roots. Throughout her career, she has returned home each night to the city of Baltimore. From community activist to United States 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. Barbara Mikulski is proud to be the Senator from Maryland and for Maryland.