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Public Statements

Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. COONS. Madam President, I am honored to follow my good friend and colleague from the State of Georgia in recognizing the remarkable contributions of Senator Mikulski, now the longest serving woman in the history of the Congress.

Today we have been joined by many great Marylanders. We have had Governor O'Malley and Senator Cardin, and former Senator Sarbanes, and Senator Mikulski's own family, her sisters and brother-in-law in attendance. I am also pleased that we have got two of her favorite constituents, my father and my brother, who are with us today as well. They live in Annapolis and they have known what I have known since childhood when I lived in the suburbs of Baltimore, that Senator Mikulski is a remarkable, a tireless, a passionate, and an effective Senator.

Reference has been made to her start as a community organizer, someone who saved Fells Point from a 16-lane superhighway, someone who was not afraid to get into the gritty issues of a local community and standing up for folks who did not have anyone to fight for them. We have also heard about her early years as a social worker, helping folks in need understand the programs available to them and then fighting for the programs that should have been available to them.

It is no surprise to any of us that the district she first represented in the House of Representatives, the Third, was known as the ``steel district'' where lots of men and women worked in the Bethlehem Steel plant. It is no surprise that she has earned a reputation here in the Senate as a woman of steel, who fights for manufacturers, who fights for Federal workers, who fights for Western Maryland, who fights for poultry on the peninsula of the Eastern Shore of Maryland, who fights for her constituents day in and day out.

It is indeed just that in this Woman's History Month we would be recognizing Senator Barbara Mikulski, who has stood up for Maryland each and every day. And though like me she comes up a little short every time she stands, she stands incredibly tall in the company of Senators throughout American history. She is someone who is passionate for people, who has determination to continue in the tradition of her father, that fair deal grocer, who asked every day that simple question: How can I help, and then gets busy answering it.

She is a role model for me, for all of us, for my daughter, for my family, for our community. She is the only Senator I have heard say to me, fiercely, before going on a vote on the floor: To the barricades. And she is the only person who could say that and mean it. For a lifetime, she has been at the barricades of justice. She has been at the barricades of service. She has been at the barricades of making a difference. And for that, we are all grateful.

I yield the floor.


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