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Mikulski: Why I'm ready for Hillary

I'm ready for Hillary Clinton to be the next president of the United States of America because I know Hillary Clinton. I've known her as an advocate for children, a first lady, a fellow United States senator and a secretary of state.

She is a seasoned and effective leader. I've seen it up close and personal. I've stood shoulder to shoulder with her fighting for economic security for families and national security for our country. I've seen her zip and her zest.

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Hillary Clinton is absolutely passionate about solving problems to improve people's lives. She really knows how to listen. She knows the best ideas come from the people. And she knows how to put together the coalition necessary to get the job done.

I've seen her deeply moved by the stories of students and families faced with mountains of college debt. She knows we need results, not empty promises. That's why she's put forward a New College Compact — a bold and achievable plan to rein in the runaway costs of college and allow students to refinance their debt. She wants young people to be able to pursue their degrees and pursue the American dream.

I've seen Hillary's commitment to economic security for America's families. She knows that a full time job shouldn't mean full-time poverty. She wants to raise the federal minimum wage to $12 an hour and encourage states that are able to go higher to do so. She'll raise hell to get it done.

In her first year as a United States senator from New York, Hillary and I stood together on the steps of the Capitol as we faced that dark day of 9/11. It was a defining moment for our country. But Hillary knew no terrorist could ever crush the New York spirit or the American spirit. As we worked on the Schumer-Clinton-Mikulski amendment to support our nation's first responders, I saw her steely resolve. She was a champion for victims, for Ground Zero workers and responders, and for fire fighters and first responders.

But we also found time for a few laughs. In 2001, when the Baltimore Ravens and New York Giants faced each other in the Super Bowl, the Maryland senators made a friendly wager with the New York senators. The Ravens won 34 to 7. The Giants, lost and so did Senators Clinton and Chuck Schumer. They recited Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven" at a press conference. It took them 10 minutes. That's what I call poetic justice.

So Hillary's up for some good natured fun and a friendly bet. But she would never bet on the privatization of Social Security. When the Republicans tried to turn Social Security over to the big banks, I saw the unflagging and unflinching way she stood up for seniors. She would never allow seniors to rely on the bear of the market or the bull of political promises.

Make no mistake about it. Stakes are high in this election. Marylanders have a choice to make. I've made my choice — it's Hillary Clinton. She is the most qualified candidate. She is duty driven. She knows how to help America and how to protect America. She is a trailblazer. Electing Hillary will make history and change history. And she will take our hopes and dreams with her to the Oval Office.

Barbara A. Mikulski, Baltimore

The writer, a Democrat, is Maryland's senior senator.

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