By JESS NOCERA and ANDREA CWIEKA
Capital News Service
PHILADELPHIA — Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski on Tuesday formally nominated Hillary Clinton as the first female presidential candidate of a major party, declaring that the former secretary of state would “fight for the macro issues and those macaroni and cheese issues.”
“She wants to break the barriers to opportunities so you won’t have barriers,” Mikulski told the convention. “She will run for you. She will fight for you.”
Mikulski, followed by U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, was the first to nominate Clinton and introduce the convention night’s theme of “breaking barriers.” Mikulski is the longest-serving woman in U.S. Senate history.
“…It was the Founding Mothers who said, ‘Do not forget the ladies or they will foment a revolution!’ They started the job, but we’re going to keep it going,” the senator said.
Legacy appeared to be much on Mikulski’s mind Tuesday.
“We’ve all come a long way,” Mikulski said to a roomful of Maryland delegates earlier in the day. “Many people have been there from the beginning. You all helped me break barriers.”
Maryland delegates were more than happy to have another Marylander up on the Wells Fargo Center stage.
“In a way it’s passing her torch onto the first female president of the United States,” said Shelly Hettleman, a delegate from Pikesville*.
Hettleman worked on Mikulski’s successful Senate campaign in 1986 and said she has considered the senator a “role model” ever since.
Mikulski is “continuing to be a role model for me now as the first woman in the Senate, they (Mikulski and Clinton) are both just incredible role models for younger women that are elected officials,” Hettleman said.
Mikulski, who served as the chair for Clinton’s 2008 campaign, has been supporting women’s rights since her congressional career began in 1976 — from fighting a sexist Senate dress code to working for equal pay and better healthcare for women.
Lynn Morrison Venetoulis, a delegate from Pikesville, called Mikulski “the ultimate glass ceiling-breaker from the state of Maryland and the U.S. Senate.”
“With (Mikulski) retiring, I’m thrilled that she gets this opportunity,” Venetoulis said.
“It is her cornerstone to her legacy,” said Dylan Goldberg, an at-large delegate from Columbia. “I think she is so honored by what it is going to mean to young women across the country and know that she made a major role in Hillary Clinton’s presidency.”
Mikulski said she would need the Maryland delegation’s support when she was announcing Clinton’s nomination Tuesday morning, and was met with cheers and applause from the delegates.
“It is a big deal, it is a big deal for all of us, no matter who you are,” Goldberg said.
*Correction: An earlier version of this story identified Shelly Hettleman as a delegate from Columbia. She is from Pikesville. The story has been updated.