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Sen. Barbara Mikulski marked the start of the year by becoming the longest-serving female Senator in history.
Near the end of the year, the Maryland Democrat became one of a handful of women who have been elected to Congress to be included in the National Women’s Hall of Fame.
Mikulski becomes the only current Member of Congress to receive the honor. The Hall of Fame is located in Seneca Falls, N.Y., the site of a historic women’s rights convention in 1848.
Recent inductees include Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who was inducted during her term as a Senator from New York, and former Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.), who was inducted before her term in Congress.
Other past inductees who have served in Congress include the late Reps. Geraldine Ferraro (D-N.Y.), the first woman to run as vice president for a major political party; Shirley Chisholm (D-N.Y.), the first African-American woman elected to Congress; Patsy Mink (D-Hawaii), the first Asian-American woman elected to Congress; and Jeannette Rankin (R-Mont.), the first woman elected to Congress.
“My fellow inductees inspire women around the world with their strength, courage and commitment to service,” Mikulski said in a statement. “I’m proud to be named among them.”
The National Women’s Hall of Fame was founded in 1969 and began inducting women in 1973. Nominations are open to the public, with the only qualification being that the woman who is being nominated is a U.S. citizen. Nominations for posthumous induction are also accepted. (This year, singer Billie Holiday, who died in 1959, was among the inductees.)
For this year, more than 250 nominations were made. Eleven women were chosen, bringing the total number in the Hall of Fame to 247.
Mikulski was nominated by one of her constituents, Hall of Fame Executive Director Christine Moulton said.
“[Mikulski’s] record on advocating on behalf of women, veterans and minorities, as well as her earlier work in the field of social work, lend to being a good legislator,” Moulton said. “She’s tenacious, and that’s what makes her a great inductee.”
Mikulski spoke at the induction ceremony in Seneca Falls earlier this fall, describing the history of the women’s suffrage movement before delving into her own political track record.
“Growing up in my ethnic neighborhood in Baltimore, I never dreamed of becoming a U.S. Senator,” she said. “I took on City Hall to stop a road from destroying Baltimore’s ethnic and black home ownership neighborhoods. In other countries, they put protesters in jail. In America, they elect you to the city council, then to the U.S. House of Representatives, then to the U.S. Senate and then to the Women’s Hall of Fame!”
Nominations for next year’s inductees close Dec. 31. Nomination forms can be found at greatwomen.org.