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Sen. Mikulski, In Public Office Since 1976, Won't Seek Re-Election

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And now news of the longest-serving woman in the history of Congress who will not be running for re-election next year. Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski made that surprise announcement yesterday in her hometown of Baltimore.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

When Mikulski joined the Senate in 1987 after a decade in the House, she was one of just two women in the chamber. In 2012, she became the first woman to chair the powerful Appropriations Committee. She held that position until Republicans took control of the Senate this year.

MONTAGNE: Barbara Mikulski championed equal pay for women, and she's credited with doing in the Senate's requirement that women wear skirts. Summing up her decision to retire, Mikulski said it came down to simple questions - do I spend my time raising money, or do I spend my time raising hell?

(SOUNDBITE OF JOHNNY A SONG, "THE NIGHT I SAID GOODBYE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.