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Ms. COLLINS. Mr. President, I rise to introduce the National Women's History Museum Commission Act of 2012, a bill that would create a commission to evaluate and plan into the establishment of a museum that would be dedicated to women's history in our Nation's capital city. I appreciate the co-sponsorship of Senator MIKULSKI, Senator HUTCHINSON, Senator LIEBERMAN, Senator MURRAY, Senator AKAKA, Senator MERKLEY, Senator KLOBUCHAR, Senator STABENOW, Senator MURKOWSKI, Senator LANDRIEU, Senator SHAHEEN, and Senator BOXER.
American women have made invaluable contributions to our country in such diverse fields as government, business, medicine, law, literature, sports, entertainment, the arts, and the military. The need for a museum recognizing the contributions of American women is long overdue.
In 1999, a Presidential commission on commemorating women in American history concluded that, ``Efforts to implement an appropriate celebration of women's history in the next millennium should include the designation of a focal point for women's history in our Nation's capital.''
Although Congress has made commendable provisions for the National Museum for African American History and Culture, the National Law Enforcement Museum, and the National Museum of the American Indian, there is still no institution in the capital region dedicated to women's role in our country's history.
This bill would be a good step toward rectifying this oversight. The bill would simply establish a commission, similar to what was done for the African American History and Culture Museum, to develop a feasible plan for establishing such a museum in here in Washington, D.C.
It is important to note that, unlike previous museum commissions, taxpayers will not shoulder the funding of this project. The proposed legislation calls for the commission to fund its own costs.
A museum dedicated to women's history would help ensure that future generations understand what we owe to the many generations of American women who have helped build, sustain, and advance our society. They deserve a museum to present the stories of pioneering women like abolitionist Harriet Tubman, founder of the Girl Scouts Juliette Gordon Low, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, astronaut Sally Ride, and Senator Margaret Chase Smith.
Yes, of special pride to the State of Maine is a legendary predecessor in the Senate seat I now hold: Margaret Chase Smith, the first woman nominated for President of the United States by a major political party, and the first woman elected to both houses of Congress. Senator Smith began representing Maine in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1940, won election to the Senate in 1948, and enjoyed bipartisan respect over her long career for her independence, integrity, wisdom, and courage. She remains my role model and, through the example of her public service, an exemplar of the virtues that would be honored in the National Women's History Museum.
Again, I urge my colleagues to support this legislation.
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