Political Social Workers: Committee Appointments
by Rachel L. West, MSW, LMSW
The Political Social Worker
Political social workers: Senator Barbara Mikulski and Representative Kyrsten Sinema have received appointments to key congressional committees.
Today it was announced that Senator Barbara Mikulski will become the first women to head the Senate Appropriations committee. The position had been held by Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii who died Monday at the age of 88. Senator Mikulski earned her MSW from the University of Maryland School of Social Work in 1965. She went on to work as a community organizer before being elected to a seat on the Baltimore City Council in 1971. This year she became the longing serving women in congress.
In further political news U.S. Congresswoman elect Kyrsten Sinema has been appointed to the House Financial Services Committee. Sinema earned her MSW from Arizona State University in 1999. She was first elected to the Arizona House of Representatives in 2004 and then won a state senate seat in 2010. Sinema will be sworn into the US House of Representatives in January.
Currently there are seven social workers serving in the United States Congress. Aside from Mikulski and Sinema they include Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Rep Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL), Rep Susan Davis (D-CA), Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-PA), and Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). A few years ago now retired Congressmen Edolphus Towns established the Congressional Social Work Caucus. The bipartisan group represents the interest of the county’s professional social workers at the national level.
The first social worker (and the first women) to be elected to the United States Congress was Jeannette Rankin who was elected to serve in 1916 and again in 1940. As an ardent pacifist Rankin voted against the United States involvement in both World Wars. In 1941 she was the sole dissenting vote in deciding whether or not the country should go to war following the bombing of Pearl Harbor. This move angered many of her constituents and lead to her losing re-election.
There is a statue of Rankin In the United States Capitol’s Statuary Hall.