Sen. Barbara Mikulski announced plans Monday morning to retire from the Senate when her term is up next year.
Mikulski, the "Dean of the Senate" and the first Democratic woman elected on her own accord—not to fill a vacancy left by a spouse—leaves a long list of legislative accomplishments from her role as the former chairwoman of the Senate's powerful Appropriations Committee. But the longest-serving woman in Congress also leaves behind a long line of women who have followed in her footsteps. Mikulski built a reputation as a dogged, no-fuss legislator, but she also is well-known as an advocate for new women on Capitol Hill.
Speaking in the Baltimore neighborhood of Fells Point on Monday morning, Mikulski said she didn't want to worry about campaigning anymore, and she wanted to focus on governing during her remaining time in office.
"I had to decide whether to spend my time fighting to keep my job or fighting for your job. Do I spend my time raising money or raising hell to meet your day-to-day needs? Do I spend my time focusing on my election or the next generation? Do I spend the next two years making promises about what I will do, or making progress on what I can do right now?" Mikulski said. "The more I thought about it, the more the answer became really clear—I want to campaign for you. That's why I'm here to announce I won't be seeking a sixth term as a United States senator for Maryland."