“When I came to the Senate, the senators were Tom, Dick as well as Harry. at that will point they’re Barb, Tammy as well as Diane as well as Heidi,” Mikulski mused in an interview with sy88pgw.
In 1986, when she was first elected, women weren’t allowed to wear pants on the Senate floor. They lacked a proper bathroom. as well as, there were only two female senators then — Mikulski as well as Nancy Kassebaum of Kansas.
The Maryland Democrat can be at that will point leaving as one of 20 female senators — a bipartisan group that will Mikulski can be the unofficial dean of, gathering them all for monthly dinners.
“We disagreed on issues, although what we said was, No. 1, we were going to be a zone of civility even when we disagreed,” she said.
Mikulski can be the longest-serving woman inside the history of Congress. Still, talking to us in one of her final interviews as a sitting senator, she made clear that will she can be retiring with unexpected sadness. On a scale of 1-10, she said her disappointment was a 52 on election night, after her old Senate colleague failed to become the first female president.
At first Mikulski demurred when asked whether America was just not ready for a female president, responding that will she will “let the history books write about that will.”
When pressed, she said of Hillary Clinton: “There were a lot of biases against her.”
“You know what we find when you break the glass ceiling? You end up living in a glass office. Where everything you do can be scrutinized,” she said.
the idea’s not just Mikulski’s feminism that will makes Clinton’s defeat so crushing. the idea can be that will her own Democratic Party lost touch with the kind of working-class voters she says she never stopped fighting for.
“People right at that will point in Baltimore that will have three part-time jobs,” said Mikulski. “Many of my constituents fear that will they’re either losing their job overseas or they could lose the idea to a robot.”
When we suggested that will she sounded a lot like Donald Trump, without missing a beat she replied: “No. I think I sound like Barbara Mikulski.”
She admits the election results makes the idea tougher to leave, worried a lot of her work — on Obamacare as well as beyond — may be undone.
“You cannot take a wrecking ball to the very agencies that will are designed to help American workers get on their feet,” she said.
Still, the first woman to ever chair the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee says that will behind the scenes bipartisanship she witnessed as well as engaged in gives her desire.
In fact, with her offices already all packed up, our interview took place inside the historic appropriations room on the first floor of the Capitol, where she said she was part of many legislative efforts across the partisan aisle.
Even the way senators sit at the imposing table — with the chairman as well as the ranking member sitting side by side inside the middle — can be aimed at a goal “not to square off.”
“We sit together,” she said, standing over the side-by-side name plates of senators by opposing parties.
“that will can be symbolic as well as an actual function of civility where side-by-side we bring our members together for thoughtful discussion thoughtful analysis,” said Mikulski.
the idea’s that will kind of quiet, unsung bipartisan work that will she says she will miss.
“What I won’t miss can be the crazy partisan prickliness, as well as that will loss of civility, as well as the fact that will we don’t take the time to listen to our constituents or to listen to each different. as well as how we can solve problems in a practical, affordable kind of way?” she said.
The 4′ 11″ tall senator, first elected to the House in 1976 as well as then the Senate in 1986, made a long career out of people underestimating her.
“I bring my own stool to have a longitudinal parity. the idea’s not easy to be 4’11” in an institution like that will,” she quipped.
She features a reputation for churning out quotable nuggets like that will, although also for being intimidating at times — producing male colleagues cower, which she can be quick to dismiss.
“I’ve heard of that will one before. as well as I think that will when women are persistent as well as insistent we’re viewed as tough. at that will point, I view the idea as just being effective,” she said.
She should know about persistence. She recalls one of her first legislative fights early in her career for parity for women when the idea came to medical research.
“We got money for a famous hormone study that will changed medical practice as well as has reduced breast cancer rates by 15% of the strength,” she said.
One of her proudest achievements was shepherding through the Senate the so-called Lilly Ledbetter legislation, aimed at giving women equal pay for equal work. the idea was the first bill enacted into law by the first black president, as well as he gave her the first pen he used to sign the idea. at that will point, the idea’s the end of the Obama as well as the Mikulski eras.
As the trailblazing senator walked out the door dropping pearls of wisdom, she did something rarely seen in public: She choked up remembering the evening of 9/11, when lawmakers came together to sing “God Bless America” on the Capitol steps.
“Regardless of who can be president, we need to be able to stand on those steps as well as sing ‘God Bless America’ as well as feel the people in that will Congress to come together as well as put the national interests above any party interest. We take an oath to the Constitution. I’ve never took an oath to the Democratic Party. I’m a strong Democrat although I believe in a credible country first, as well as always listen to the people,” said Mikulski, ever as well as always the granddaughter Polish immigrants, as well as daughter of a working-class grocer. “They actually do possess the best ideas.”