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“We get together now every other month for dinners for friendship and for fellowship, saying that no matter what in this atmosphere of very prickly partisanship, we’re going to work to try to have a zone of civility,” Miss Mikulski said. “Most of the time, we’re pretty successful.”

Before her 1992 election, 15 women had served in the Senate. Now the number who have held a Senate seat stands at 38, including the current 17 female senators.