“Small in stature but larger than life, Senator Mikulski is both the champion of the person on the street and the visionary leader who has worked to make Maryland ready for the next century,” GBC President and CEO Donald C. Fry said in presenting the award to her. “She is unapologetically who she is – plain spoken, fierce in her convictions, and devoted to each and every citizen of Maryland.”
Earlier this year, Mikulski announced that she will not seek a sixth term in 2016 and will retire from Congress in 2017.
A native Baltimorean, Mikulski began her life of service helping out at her parents’ Highlandtown grocery store. From neighborhood activism, she moved into politics and served on the City Council for five years. She then moved to the United States Congress in 1976 where she served for a decade building a reputation as an advocate for veterans, the elderly and children.
In 1986 Mikulski ran for the United States Senate, becoming the first Democratic woman elected. She was re-elected with large majorities in 1992, 1998, 2004 and 2010.
Since 2006 the GBC has presented the Howard “Pete” Rawlings Courage in Public Service Award, occasionally but not annually, to honor public officials who demonstrate exceptional courage while serving in elected or appointed public office. Previous award recipients were former Baltimore City Police Commissioner Frederick Bealefeld, former Baltimore City Public Schools CEO Dr. Andres Alonso and former United States Representative and Congressman Paul S. Sarbanes.