Senator Barbara Mikulski

Former U.S. Senator

The people of Maryland elected Senator Barbara A. Mikulski to be their U.S. Senator because she was a fighter – looking out for the day–to–day needs of Marylanders and the long–range needs of the nation. She was not only the Senator from Maryland, but also the Senator for Maryland.  

Determined to make a difference in her community, Mikulski became a social worker in Baltimore. Her work evolved into community activism when Mikulski worked with a diverse coalition of communities across Baltimore City to successfully organize against the building of a 16–lane highway through Baltimore’s ethnic enclaves and predominantly Black-owned neighborhoods.  

Mikulski’s community organizing took her to Baltimore’s City Council in 1971, the United States House of Representatives in 1976, and then the United States Senate in 1986. Retiring in 2017, Mikulski has stated that it is not how long she served that matters, but rather how well she served her state and nation. 

A trailblazer, Mikulski was the first Democratic woman Senator elected in her own right. As a Senator, she focused on issues of science, technology, the economic and health security of women, as well as jobs and justice. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama in 2015. And a supernova was named in her honor in 2012 by Nobel Prize winner Dr. Adam Reiss. 

Prior to her SNF Agora Institute affiliation, Mikulski was the Homewood Professor of Public Policy at John Hopkins University, where she co-taught undergraduate courses in Political Science, Sociology, and Public Health. She serves on the Boards of the National Democratic Institute and the Baltimore Community Foundation, and is dedicated to preparing the next generation of change-makers and innovators.