Mikulski to retire as longest serving woman in Congress

By Daniel Enoch

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WASHINGTON, March 2, 2015 - Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., announced Monday that she will retire at the end of the 114th Congress in 2017, ending the longest congressional career of any woman in history.

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Mikulski, 78, was elected to the House of Representatives in 1976 and in 1986 she came the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate from Maryland. She also was the first woman to chair the Appropriations Committee, taking over the panel on the death of Daniel Inouye of Hawaii in December 2012. She is now the committee's ranking member.

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At a news conference near the row-house neighborhood where she grew up in Baltimore, the social worker turned politician said she decided against seeking a sixth term because she wanted to focus the next two years on helping the citizens of Maryland, rather than on another political campaign.
"Do I spend my time raising money or do I spend my time raising hell?" she asked. "Remember, for the next two years, I will be here, working the way that I do."

Potential successors in the highly Democratic state include Democratic Reps. Chris Van Hollen and Elijah Cummings, as well as Rep. John Sarbanes, whose father also served in the Senate. Other names being mentioned include former Maryland governor Martin O'Malley, who is considering a run for the presidency, and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

Republicans who might consider a run include former governor Bob Ehrlich and Rep. Andy Harris.

 

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