Baltimore attorney Susan L. Burke, who has built a national reputation for her work challenging the way the military handles sexual assault allegations, said Friday that she is seriously considering a run for the U.S. Senate.
Sen. Barbara Mikulski announced Monday that she planned to retire when her term ends in 2016, creating a rare vacancy in Maryland and setting off a scramble among Democratic party insiders and outside hopefuls.
"I'm interested because I believe Congress needs new and strong voices," said Burke, who is a Democrat.
Burke, who was based in Washington before moving to Baltimore, represented a female Naval Academy midshipmen who alleged that three members of the academy's football team sexually assaulted her at a party.
But she said her political interests range more broadly, pointing to work she has done representing victims of abuse at Abu Ghraib, the U.S. run prison in Iraq, and fighting military contractors such as Blackwater.
"I definitely don't view myself as single issue person," Burke said.
Rep. Chris Van Hollen, a senior member of Maryland's Congressional delegation, has formally announced plans to run for the seat and a number of his colleagues as well as other established Maryland politicians have also expressed an interest. Burke said she would not be intimidated by the potential competition.
"That's the beauty of a democracy, the only barrier to entry is getting the votes," she said.