Barbara Mikulski

Friday, July 31, 2020
10:45am EDT

Location CHQ Assembly Video Platform

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Reflecting on the themes of the week and how to use this anniversary to "remember, reflect and recommit”

Barbara Mikulski, former U.S. Senator from Maryland, is the longest-serving woman in the history of Congress and a lifelong public servant and champion of women’s rights. She returns to Chautauqua to keynote a week celebrating 100 years of women’s suffrage in the United States, looking to the future, offering context to the week’s lectures, and discussing lessons learned since the ratification of the 19th Amendment.

Trained as a social worker, Mikulski won her first election to the Baltimore City Council in 1971 and five years later, won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Elected to the U.S. Senate in 1986, Mikulski became the second woman in the nation’s history to serve in both chambers. As the Dean of the Women, Mikulski mentored other women senators through her bipartisan dinners and power workshops to train newly elected women.

Throughout her career, Mikulski has worked to pass legislation to protect the most vulnerable members of society and to advance scientific research and democracy around the world. She championed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, helped establish the Office of Research on Women's Health at the National Institutes of Health, worked to expand access to higher education and protect the final resources of the nation’s seniors, and supported investments in research and innovation, including the Hubble Space Telescope.

In 2011 Mikulski became the longest-serving female senator and the following year, the longest-serving woman in Congress. In November 2015, Mikulski was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama at a ceremony in the White House.

Mikulski retired from the U.S. Senate on January 3, 2017. She is the Homewood Professor of Political Science at John Hopkins University and a board member of the National Democratic Institute.