Barbara Mikulski may only be 4’11”, but she’s one tough cookie.
At 74 years
old, the Maryland senator doesn’t show signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Although the Baltimore native has been busy on the campaign trail, she took
some time to share with GL readers what it’s really like to be a politician.
exactly does a senator do every day?
Sen. Mikulski: I do many different things on a typical
day. When I’m at the Capitol in Washington, I might go to the Senate floor to
debate a bill or attend committee meetings with other senators.
When I’m not in
Washington, I like to travel around Maryland to meet with my constituents:
small business owners, groups of parents and their children, high school and
college students or seniors. I meet with veterans, federal employees and
executives from biotech and homeland security companies that support our
inspired you to become a senator?
Sen. Mikulski: I started my
career as a social worker in Baltimore – helping at-risk children and educating
seniors about the Medicare program. Social work evolved into community activism
when I heard about the plan for a 16-lane highway that would have destroyed
neighborhoods and torn the city apart.
The road fight was
my turning point – when I knew I would rather be opening doors for others from
the inside, than knocking on doors from the outside. Today, that dream has come
true as I have the opportunity to serve Maryland and America in the United
GL: What is the
best part of your job? What’s the hardest part?
Sen. Mikulski: The most exciting
part about being a senator is knowing I have helped make a difference in
people’s lives. My proudest moments are when I win the battles I am fighting
for the people of Maryland.
The most difficult
thing about being a senator is considering whether or not to send American
troops to war. That is not a responsibility that I take lightly. While I
continue to fight to provide our troops with the resources they need in the
field, I am proud to have voted against sending our men and women in uniform
into the war in Iraq.
GL: What advice do
you have for girls who want to become politicians?
Sen. Mikulski: It’s so important
for young girls to be motivated to achieve. They need to know that with hard
work and perseverance, they can follow their dreams and become chemists, lawyers,
biologists, doctors and congresswomen. While women can work alone to make a
difference, we have to work together to make change.
When I first came
to the Senate, I was the 16th woman to have ever served there. Now there
are 17 of us all at once. Can you believe it?
GL: Who are your
Sen. Mikulski: As a young girl, I
was inspired by a movie about Marie Curie. She was the first woman to win the
Nobel Prize and she was of Polish heritage, just like me. I wanted to be a scientist,
but I found out rather quickly that science wasn’t my calling. I was a little
klutzy with my lab sets. I was also inspired by the nuns who were my teachers
at the Institute of Notre Dame. They taught me I could be smart and effective
but still womanly.
GL: Why is it
important for girls to get involved with politics?
Sen. Mikulski: The government
must always have voices who speak out for women, children and families. Women
bring their own perspective and life experiences to their work every day, but
no matter what, the United States will always be well served with more women in
office. Every issue is a women’s issue, and girls understand that.
The more girls run
for Congress, the stronger [we] can become and the louder our voices will be in
the government and in the lives of Americans.
Thanks for chatting with us, Senator Mikulski!
BY L’OREAL THOMPSON ON 9/23/2010 2:37:00 PM
POSTED IN On the Job