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Maryland's Sen. Barbara Mikulski Becomes Longest-Serving Woman In U.S. Congress

WASHINGTON (WJZ)-- Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski becomes the longest-serving female in Congress.

Weijia Jiang reports on the landmark achievement.

U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski is a trailblazer. Now her colleagues and her constituents are saying, "Thank You."

For more than 35 years, Mikulski has represented Maryland on Capitol Hill.

So long that on Saturday she reached a milestone. Mikulski is now the longest-serving woman in the history of the Congress.

When Mikulski-- a Democrat-- went to the Senate in 1986, there was only one other woman, a Republican. Now there are 17 female senators who have forged a bond across party lines.

"When the day's over, let's kick back and put our lipstick on and have a glass of wine, and keep the institution and America going," Mikulski said.

"We're all a team as women. We may not agree on every issue, but that's not the point," Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) said.

So it's fitting one of Mikulski's passions is the battle for women's health.

She wrote the law requiring federal standards for mammograms and fought for uninsured women to get screenings for breast and cervical cancers.

Mikulski started her career in East Baltimore where she grew up. She was a social worker helping at-risk children and educating seniors about Medicare.

"I think Barbara Mikulski has been an asset to the country and to Baltimore. I'm glad to know her, and glad to have voted for her," said Dan Prives of Highlandtown.

Now, Mikulski is a leader among leaders. She's officially the Dean of the Women-- a mentor to other female senators when they first take office.

"I won't always be here but I hope the legacy of civility I've worked with other women to create will remain," she said.

Mikulski is scheduled to be honored on the Senate floor on Wednesday.

The late representative Edith Nourse Rogers-- a Massachusetts Republican-- was the longest-serving woman in Congress until Mikulski broke her record.

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