Washington, D.C. —Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) released the following statement on the announcement that Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) will not be running for reelection at the end of her current term.

“Senator Mikulski is a champion for her home state, a passionate and tireless advocate for our nation's most vulnerable families, and a true mentor to me and the many other women who are walking behind her on the path she fought so hard to clear for us. She will be greatly missed when she leaves the Senate at the end of her term, but she will leave a record of accomplishments that will live on in our history books, in the spirits of young women across the country who will never know the barriers she refused to accept, and in the homes of the Maryland families whose lives were made better in countless ways because their 'Senator Barb' never stopped fighting for them. I know she has a whole lot of work left to do here over the next two years, but when she leaves, it is going to be a huge loss for our country and it will be on the rest of us to pick up the mantle and keep up the fight.

“So many women across the country have grown up knowing they could go to work, take care of their families, and not have to worry about what is happening in Washington, D.C. because Senator Mikulski had their backs. She is a superwoman who wakes up every day, gets ready for battle, and comes to work ready to fight, and ready to win.

“Senator Mikulski is a true friend who reached out to me on day one, and has been there for me ever since. When I got to the Senate, she taught me the legislative process, the rules of the Senate floor, and the many other more subtle lessons of Senate life. There were precious few role models, confidants, or mentors for women entering the Senate back then, so Senator Mikulski played all three of those roles for so many of us. And in the two decades we have served together, she has always added to her list of roles, always made time for us, and always put the special bond we women senators share high on her priority list.

“As the Dean of the women Senators who organizes our bipartisan dinners, Senator Mikulski has guided us through the good times and bad and created a true community of civility and support when that was desperately needed. She fought for us before we even got here, walked into rooms women had not been welcome in before, and made sure to keep her foot stuck in the door so other women could walk in behind her. Every women in the Senate today, and women in other positions across the country, owes her a tremendous debt that can never be fully repaid. There used to be a Senate rule that women had to wear skirts on the Senate floor, but when Senator Mikulski decided that she was going to wear pants while casting her votes, it was the rule that had to change, not her.

“Senator Mikulski is the longest-serving woman in the history of the United States Congress, but she never, ever, forgot where she came from or who she represents. For years we sat together in the Appropriations and HELP committees, and from her fight for paycheck fairness, to standing strong for investments in cures for the deadliest diseases we face, to reforming our health care system—Senator Mikulski is a force for progress and for the kitchen table issues she is so proud to be a voice for.

“As Chairwoman, and then Vice Chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee in recent years, Senator Mikulski worked to craft bipartisan spending bills at a time when bipartisanship was in short supply. She refused to listen to those who said it couldn't be done, she refused to let cynicism and partisanship win the day, and she successfully fought time and again for the families and workers whose stories she carries with her every day.

“I am proud to serve with such a passionate advocate for equality, justice, and opportunity. I look forward to working with Senator Mikulski for the next two years, and I join so many others in thanking her in advance for her service, commitment, tenacity, and spirit of justice.”