Sen. Barbara Mikulski Announces Retirement
‘Do I spend my time raising money or do I spend my time raising hell?’ —Sen. Barbara Mikulski
By Greg Hambrick (Patch Staff) March 2, 2015 at 9:57am
Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., announced Monday morning that she is retiring from the Senate, in a press conference in Fells Point.
“In 2016 my reelection would be on the horizon. I have thought long and hard about the next two years,” Mikulski said at the press conference, which WBAL streamed live.
“Who am I campaigning for? Am I campaigning for me or for my constituents?” Mikulski said, explaining her thought process leading up to 2016. “I had to decide how I would spend my time—fighting for my job or fighting for their job. Do I spend my time raising money, or do I spend my time raising hell?”
Mikulski continued: “…it really became clear that I want to campaign for the people of Maryland. I want to make sure that they have a future, that they have a job. I’m here today in Fells Point to announce that I will not be seeking a sixth term in the U.S. Senate.”
The decision was not one that she made lightly, after a long career in politics, one that began on the Baltimore City Council in 1971. “This has been a hard decision to make,” Mikulski said. “I will have served over 30 years.”
Currently in her fifth term as a U.S. Senator, Mikulski is known as the “Dean” of the Senate women and helping forge bipartisan relationships for decades that often result in compromise.
For the remainder of her term, Mikulski said she plans to continue fighting for change. “I want to give 120 percent of my time focused on my constituents. Because it’s never been about me. It’s always been about them,” she said.
When a reporter asked if she had one particular accomplishment of which she was most proud, Mikulski said that it was not one piece of legislation, although she cited Rosa’s law, which removed the term “retarded” from the health and education code in Maryland, which she said originated out of a round table discussion in Anne Arundel County. In 2010, President Barack Obama signed Rosa’s law into federal statute requiring all health, labor and education laws to remove “retarded” and refer instead to people living with “intellectual disability.”
Mikulski also mentioned her work to support local firefighters with federal grant money, based on learning that a fire engine can cost $1 million.
“For me, it’s not any one accomplishment. It’s the joy of listening to the people, knowing what their needs are, responding to that need and trying to turn it into national policy,” Mikulski said.
Mikulski, 78, was the first woman to chair the powerful Appropriations Committee, according to The Washington Post.