Senators led bipartisan resolution to rename rooms in the U.S. Capitol after the two trailblazing female senators
Out of more than 540 rooms in the Capitol, these two rooms are the first to be named after women senators
PHOTOS FROM THE EVENT CAN BE FOUND HERE
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Roy Blunt (R-MO), Chairwoman and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, hosted a ceremony dedicating two rooms in the U.S. Capitol in honor of former Senators Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Margaret Chase Smith (R-ME). Out of more than 540 rooms in the Capitol, these two rooms are the first to be named after women senators.
Klobuchar and Blunt led the resolution, which passed the Senate unanimously in December 2020, to name these rooms after the two trailblazing female senators. S-115 will be named the “U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski Room” in honor of Mikulski, the longest serving female senator and the first woman to serve as Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee. S-124 will be designated as the “U.S. Senator Margaret Chase Smith Room” after Smith, the first woman to serve in both chambers of Congress.
Klobuchar and Blunt were joined by former Senator Mikulski; Dr. Jonathan Rubin, Director of the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Institute; Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY); Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY); and Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Angus King (I-ME).
“These are the first two rooms in the Capitol that are named after women senators – yes! They passed the Senate unanimously, and we’re excited about that,” said Klobuchar. “Senator Barbara Mikulski remains the longest-serving woman in Congress ever after leaving office in 2017. We’re also honoring Senator Margaret Chase Smith, the first woman to serve in both the U.S. House and the Senate. This is of personal excitement for so many of us.”
“Senators Margaret Chase Smith and Barbara Mikulski more than earned their place in the history books,” said Blunt. “Both senators served as committee and party leaders, and were tireless advocates for the issues they cared about. I was proud to join Senator Klobuchar and our colleagues in this effort to honor Senators Margaret Chase Smith and Barbara Mikulski. I hope that seeing their names on these two rooms will inspire future generations of women to follow their lead and leave their mark on Congress.”
“I am so honored to be celebrating the dedication of the Barbara Mikulski Room and the Margaret Chase Smith Room in the Senate. My genuine thanks for doing this, because I know this is truly a very huge honor,” said Mikulski. “I would hope that when people see these two rooms…that they are inspired today about service, about duty, about respect for the Constitution and for each other. I am very grateful to have a room of my own in the United States Senate, but I want to share it with all of you and the American people.”
“Senator Smith said, ‘Public service must be more than just doing a job efficiently and honestly. It must be a complete dedication to the people and the nation,’” said Jonathan Rubin, Director of the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center. “In that spirit, we carry on.”
“In dedicating these meeting spaces in the Capitol after Senators Barbara Mikulski and Margaret Smith, we are forever honoring the legacies of two incredible public servants who best embodied the work, spirit, and character of the legislature,” said Schumer. “As the first woman elected to both the House and Senate, Senator Smith of Maine was a trailblazer who paved the way for others to follow in her footsteps. And I had the personal honor to work with Senator Mikulski for many years in both chambers, and she was a brilliant legislator, a generous colleague, and a vital part of our caucus. Today, the Senate says thank you to these great leaders.”
“Margaret Chase Smith taking on Joe McCarthy is one of those items in the history books that is extremely important. Barbara Mikulski was a truly remarkable senator with a lasting contribution to this institution and to the country. I couldn’t be more pleased to be here and honor [them] on this occasion,” said McConnell.
“Senators Smith and Mikulski belonged to different parties, but they shared the same qualities of civility and respect for opposing viewpoints,” said Collins. “They were both women of towering stature in integrity and courage. Their legacies are, above all, a reminder of the obligation we have to uphold the values and ideals of our nation in service to the American people. May all who serve in these rooms keep that obligation today and for years to come.”
“Margaret Chase Smith was an extraordinary lawmaker, an unparalleled trailblazer, and a dear friend,” said King. “Throughout her long career, Senator Smith was a champion for Maine and an advocate for all our people. She brought the Maine values of service over party and patriotism to Washington, including in her Declaration of Conscience – one of the greatest and most important speeches in American history. There is no one more deserving of this honor, and I look forward to seeing her legacy live on in our nation’s Capitol through this room.”
“It was an honor to join my colleagues today in dedicating these two rooms for two pioneering U.S. Senators, Barbara Mikulski and Margaret Chase Smith. As folks in Maryland know, when Senator Barb is with you, the Force is with you. Her legacy of fighting for Marylanders and our nation lives on throughout the halls of the Capitol – which is why our dedication of the new Mikulski Room in the Senate today was such a fitting tribute to her years of public service,” said Van Hollen.
“Senator Barbara Mikulski was powered by the people. She was a community organizer who changed the course of Maryland and national politics forever. It is fitting that powerful people will come into this room under the watchful eyes of Senator Mikulski. Her legacy and knowledge continues on to the next generation of community leaders,” said Cardin.
As Chairwoman of the Senate Rules and Administration Committee with oversight over the Capitol complex, Klobuchar has worked to increase female representation in the Capitol. In April, her bipartisan, bicameral legislation to honor Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg was signed into law. This bill, which Klobuchar led with Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), will place statues of the two trailblazing justices on Capitol grounds.
In May, Klobuchar held a press conference to celebrate the legislation’s passage with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Representative Lois Frankel (D-FL), Justice O’Connor’s son Scott and daughter-in-law Joanie, and Justice Ginsburg’s former law clerk Kelsi Corkran.
In 2018, Klobuchar was a key supporter of Senator Tammy Duckworth’s resolution to allow senators with newborn children to bring their infants onto the Senate floor during votes.