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Ms. CANTWELL. Mr. President, I do rise to celebrate the remarkable achievements of my colleague from Maryland, Senator Mikulski.
Last January we celebrated an obvious achievement of her becoming the longest serving female Senator. And last Saturday that milestone entered another chapter, with her 12,858 days of serving the people of Maryland in Congress, which means she is now the longest serving female Member of Congress.
I know Barbara Mikulski started her career fighting for Fells Point, a particular location in the Baltimore area that she thought deserved and needed to be protected, and that galvanized her to 35 years of service, where she has been a trailblazer on so many issues.
Many people have talked about those today--about being the first woman elected to statewide office in Maryland, the first Democratic woman to serve in both Houses of Congress; the first Democratic woman to sit in a Senate leadership position, and the first Democratic woman to be elected to the Senate in her own right.
Throughout her career, she has faithfully provided a very strong voice for the people of Maryland. But it is here in the Senate we have all gotten to see Barbara Mikulski, the dean of the women Senators, and to see her incredible work as a trailblazer on so many important issues.
She has been a tireless champion on issues from pay equity to increasing access to college education, for women's health, for women's health care law, and time and time again she has proven she knows how to fight on the right side of the issues.
For the women of the Senate, she is an incredibly important ally. When it comes to each of us who comes to the U.S. Senate, to find our way and to make our own mark, Barbara Mikulski is the Senator who is always there with you to make sure you can achieve what you want to for the State you represent.
I know for me I am very excited--my colleague from Alabama was mentioning Senator Mikulski's love of NASA and space exploration--in that I can say Senator Mikulski is certainly interested also in sci-fi, and I would call her a ``techie'' Senator because she certainly has shown a great deal of interest in technology and science.
As the Chair of the Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Subcommittee, she was a key partner in the funding of key science and technology issues, and for us in the State of Washington, when we needed a new Doppler radar technology system, she was there to help ensure that those people who lived in coastal regions were going to have the appropriate protections they needed for understanding inclement weather.
She also has helped in prioritizing efforts such as the cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland--something we in the Northwest relate to because we strive to have the same cleanup of Puget Sound.
We have worked together on important legislation, such as passing the Lilly Ledbetter legislation.
But it is Barbara Mikulski--when it comes to protecting women's access to health care or standing up to any attack on Medicare--who is the most articulate, the most determined, the most persevering advocate to make sure women's issues and their cause are understood in the U.S. Senate.
I was proud to stand with her when she went up against the House plan to defund critical women's health care access and there was a near shutdown of government. As people tried to pressure Planned Parenthood, she was there to make sure we continued important programs such as breast cancer screening.
So today I join my colleagues from the Senate to thank her for those years of service in the U.S. Congress, both in the House and the Senate. While she may represent Maryland, we all want to claim that we are better off as a country having Barbara Mikulski in the U.S. Senate.
And to my colleagues--or to the young people who are here with us on the Senate floor--to understand this moment and achievement, you have to understand that in the whole history of our country, there have only been 39 women Senators, and a good number of those women Senators only served a few days or a few years. So the fact that somebody has achieved not just a seat in the U.S. Senate but a leadership position in the U.S. Senate is an incredible achievement.
We are glad she has represented a time when women have ascended to leadership in the U.S. Senate, where she is considered one of the wise Members when it comes to strategy on so many policy issues.
We are better off as a body because Barbara Mikulski has served with us, and we are looking forward to many more years of wisdom and, hopefully, many more women Senators joining the ranks of Barbara Mikulski in their tenure.
I thank the Presiding Officer and yield the floor.
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