Maryland Sen. Mikulski to Be Honored for Milestone

BY Linda J. Scott  March 20, 2012 at 10:33 AM EST

“It’s not how long I serve, but how well I serve,” she said last week on the Senate floor.

Mikulski has a string of firsts in her career: the first Democratic woman elected to the Senate in her own right, the first Democratic woman to serve in both houses of Congress, the first Democratic senator elected to a leadership post, the first woman elected to a statewide office in Maryland, to name a few.

The lawmaker championed the passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, a bill to guarantee equal pay for women, and “Rosa’s Law,” a citizen advocacy measure that banned the use of the term “mentally retarded.”

Her longtime Maryland colleague, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, described Mikulski as an effective leader. “She is the most popular elected official in our state because the people see her, very passionately, as one of them. She understands their concerns, their vision and aspirations,” Hoyer told reporters Tuesday. “Mikulski can say in a pithy short sentence what everybody is thinking, but she says it better than anybody else. She is the tallest 4’11″ person I know.”

Mikulski became the longest-serving female U.S. senator last year. On Wednesday, she will pass the late-GOP Rep. Edith Nourse Rogers of Massachusetts, who served from 1925 to 1960.