Imagine Magazine - Johns Hopkins - March/April 2016 - (Page 6)
in my own words
Values into Action
Senator Barbara Mikulski
The longest-serving woman in the history of the U.S. Congress, Barbara
Mikulski began her political career when she was elected in 1971 to the
Baltimore City Council, where she served for five years. In 1976 she
was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, and then in 1986 to
the U.S. Senate, where in 2012 she became the first woman to chair
the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee. She currently serves
as vice chair of that committee as well as a senior member of both the
Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the Health, Education,
Labor, and Pensions Committee. Mikulski also holds the unofficial post
of Dean of Senate Women, a role in which she mentors new women
senators and forms coalitions among women senators of both parties.
As Mikulski explains here, her career is rooted in a commitment to
serving others, a value she learned as a child growing up in a close-knit
Born to serve
I became a social worker
because of the values I
learned from my family,
like listening to people and
seeing how you could be of
help. When I was growing
up, my mother and father
had a little neighborhood
grocery store. Every day,
my father would open up
the doors saying, "Good
morning, can I help you?"
That's the way I was raised.
And it's those values of
neighbor helping neighbor
that I take with me to the Senate each day.
Following my strengths
Growing up, I wanted to be a scientist. My parents took me
to see a movie about Madame Marie Curie, the first woman
to win the Nobel Prize. I quickly learned, though, that science was not my calling. Although I went with my strengths
and became a social worker, I haven't lost my love for science. And now as a U.S. Senator, I sit on the committee that
funds our great science agencies like the National Institutes
Birth of a community organizer
I wanted to make a difference in the lives of people. I was
working as a social worker in Baltimore, helping at-risk
children, when I learned that some powerful people were
going to run a 16-lane highway through older ethnic
neighborhoods. They were going to take people's homes
and not even give them money to find another.
We organized a group of all the different ethnic groups.
I worked with SCAR-the Southeast Council Against the
Road. I stood in the path of the expressway and said, "The
British couldn't take Fells Point, the termites couldn't take
Fells Point, and, by God, the State Roads Commission can't
take Fells Point!" And you know what? We won.
The road fight sparked an interest in working for communities from the inside. We won by knocking on doors. But
when I knocked on the doors of City Hall, they didn't listen.
I learned I would rather be opening doors for others from
the inside than knocking on doors from the outside.
It was a turning point for me. It wasn't about the highway,
it was about saving neighborhoods.
I ran for City Council and took on the political bosses
and beat them. This led the way to the House of Representatives and then the U.S. Senate.
My goal has always been to serve the day-to-day needs of
Marylanders and the long-range needs of the nation. I have
never forgotten my roots and have always made my home
I've put my values into action. Patriotism. Hard work.
Neighbor helping neighbor. Those are the values I learned
growing up. I carry them with me every day.
Throughout my career, I've gone home each night to the
city of Baltimore. From city activist to United States Senator,
I've always believed that all politics and policy is local.
I am proud to be the Senator from Maryland and the
Senator for Maryland.
Points of pride
I have a strong belief in constituent service and staying
close to the people. I've focused on supporting jobs and
opportunity for families and communities.
I fought to pass the Spousal Anti-Impoverishment Act,
so the cruel rules of government didn't force people into
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Imagine Magazine - Johns Hopkins - March/April 2016
In My Own Words Senator Barbara Mikulski
Run, Ride, Sell! Funding causes that matter
Start Something! Initiatives by kids, for kids
Changing Lives, One School at a Time Making a difference for students in need
Empowered to Make a Difference The Civic Leadership Institute at CTY and CTD
Sharing the Gifts of Music The Forget-Me-Not Family Ensemble
Service, Leadership, Entrepreneurship . . . Launch! Learning the art of the startup at MIT Launch
Sharing the Rewards Building a shadowing program for my peers
Discovering the Leader Within Exploring leadership and social justice at Brown
Gap Year A time to refresh, serve, and grow
Research at the Edge of the World An Antarctic photo essay
Selected Opportunities and Resources
Off the Shelf Review of Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See
Exploring Career Options Interview with entrepreneur Henry Albrecht, CEO, Limeade
One Step Ahead My college startup
Planning Ahead for College Skills and knowledge for college success
Students Review: Lehigh University
Mark Your Calendar
Imagine Magazine - Johns Hopkins - March/April 2016