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Public Statements

Tributes to Senator Barbara Mikulski

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. UDALL of Colorado. Mr. President, I come to the floor today to speak in honor of Senator Barbara Mikulski. I join my colleagues in recognizing her for becoming the longest serving female Member of Congress in our Nation's history.

I know Senator Mikulski is more interested in results than milestones, but this is an appropriate moment to congratulate her for all that she has accomplished. She is both a tenacious fighter and gracious colleague.

The true measure of a society is how we treat people in the dawn and twilight years of their lives. By that standard, Senator Mikulski's career has been extraordinary.

From the start of her career in public service as a Baltimore social worker helping at-risk kids and seniors to today, she has been a champion for children and the elderly. She has been a champion for education, research, and veterans, and she has been an unflinching champion for Maryland.

Senator Mikulski has also been a friend since my first days in the Senate. Early on she reached out to me to explain the appropriations process in the Senate. My father, who spent his entire career in the U.S. House of Representatives, was always suspicious of the Senate. So to a freshman Senator making the transition from the House, hers was a welcome and reassuring gesture, kind of like the folksy gesture of calling me ``cowboy,'' which always brings a smile to my face.

Senator Mikulski's style is a powerful counter to the old Washington joke that there are actually three political parties: Democrats, Republicans, and appropriators. She always values the input of other Senators and strives to balance the many competing priorities of all the Members of this body. For example, we have worked together on the Joint Polar Satellite System. This program is over budget and behind schedule, but it is also indispensible to public safety and our economy. As an appropriator, she has the unenviable challenge of striving to continually put this program on firm financial footing. In the process, she has repeatedly asked for my perspective and welcomed me into the process. This is above and beyond the call of duty but is so typical of Barbara Mikulski.

Many have compared Senator Mikulski's streak to another famous Marylander's--Cal Ripken, Jr. I think Cal would agree with Barbara when she said, ``It's not only how long I serve, but how well I serve.''

She has undoubtedly served this institution, this country, and Maryland very well.

I commend Senator Barbara Mikulski for her 35 years of service in Congress and look forward to her future successes.

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