NASW Foundation National Programs
NASW Social Work Pioneers®
Barbara A. Mikulski
Senator Barbara Mikulski received her MSW from the University of Maryland School of Social Work.
Senator Mikulski began her political career by organizing neighbors to stop construction of a 16-lane highway through the historic Fells Point area of Baltimore. This highway not only threatened Fells Point, but also would have cut through the first black home ownership neighborhood in the city and would have prevented the successful development of the Harbor Area. Barbara Mikulski became known as the street fighter who beat the highway. This led to a seat on the Baltimore City Council which then led to the United States House of Representatives and now to the United States Senate.
Senator Mikulski was elected to the Senate in 1986. She was the first Democratic woman to hold a Senate seat not previously held by her husband; the first Democratic woman to serve in both houses of Congress; and the first woman to win a statewide election in Maryland. Her pioneering efforts and her advocacy on behalf of women candidates has helped elect five new Democratic women to the United States Senate, and has made her the unofficial "Dean of the Senate Women."
In 1994, Senator Mikulski was unanimously elected as Secretary of the Democratic Conference for the 104th Congress, the first woman to be elected to a Democratic leadership position in the Senate. She was reelected again in 1996 for the 105th Congress and will continue to work with the leadership to form the Democratic agenda in the Senate.
In October 1996, Senator Mikulski celebrated her 25 years of public service by sponsoring a Day of Volunteerism. More than 300 volunteers from across Maryland helped create a computer learning center at Brehms Lane Elementary School and removed trash and debris from the Armistead Creek and the Herring Run Stream.
Senator Mikulski is recognized as a national leader on the issue of womens health care-as one of the originators of the National Service concept-as a champion for the rights of working people-and as an aggressive advocate for jobs for Maryland. From potholes to public education, she solves the problems of the people who come to her. She is proud to be the Senator from Maryland and for Maryland. From city activist to United States Senator, she has never changed the view that all politics and policy is local and that her job is to serve the people in their day to day needs as well as prepare this country for the future.
Social Work Pioneer - 1997