Washington, DC - The U.S. Congress’ longest-serving woman will not seek a sixth term in the Senate. Several news sources are reporting Monday, March 2 that Senator Barbara Mikulski has announced her pending retirement.
The Baltimore native was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1986. She had served several terms in the House of Representatives prior to her election to the upper chamber.
The Democrat is 78. She became the country’s longest-serving national legislator in 2012.
There is already speculation in political circles as to who will seek her seat in 2016. The list of names includes fellow Democrats Chris Van Hollen, Donna Edwards and John Sarbanes, all members of the House; former governors Martin O’Malley, a Democrat, and Robert Ehrlich, a Republican.
Mikulski announced her decision at Henderson's Wharf Inn in Fells Point.
"I had to decide whether to spend my time fighting to keep my job or fighting for your job," Mikulski told the gathering. "Do I spend my time raising money or raising hell to meet your day to day needs? Do I spend my time focusing on my election or the next generation? Do I spend time the next two years making promises about what I will do or making progress on what I can do right now. The more I thought about it, the more the answer became really clear. I want to campaign for you."
Several state officials have offered remarks after hearing Mikulski's announcement.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan - "For nearly 30 years, Barbara Mikulski has been a bold and dedicated public servant to Maryland. She is a trailblazer in the truest sense."
Congresswoman Donna Edwards, Maryland District 4 - "Senator Barbara Mikulski is a groundbreaking champion for the state of Maryland, an inspiration to women all across the country, and my mentor in Congress. I value our tremendous partnership on securing scientific funding critical to our state, creating an emergency preparedness initiative for our region centered at Prince George's County Hospital and protecting women's rights and health in the landmark Affordable Care Act."
Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot - "Barbara Mikulski has always been a fierce champion for Maryland children, women and working families, and a powerful voice for Americans who otherwise would have been forgotten and left behind."
Congressman Steny Hoyer, Maryland District 5 - "Throughout her years in office, she has drawn on her experience as a social worker and community activist in Baltimore to sponsor and advance legislation to ensure that the most vulnerable in our country are protected from poverty, hunger and disease and that the opportunities inherent in the American Dream are open to as many of our people as possible."
Will Baker, president of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation - "It's hard to imagine how the Chesapeake Bay will survive without Senator Mikulski. Just as her beloved oyster is a keystone species in the bay's ecology, Senator Mikulski has been a political cornerstone of support for saving the bay."