After Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), the longest-serving woman in Congress, announced last week that she wouldn't seek re-election, Ellen Malcolm, founder of the political action committee EMILY's List, described the senator's legacy for women in politics.
Mikulski has long called on congressional women to support one another, Malcolm told HuffPost Live on Monday while promoting her new book, When Women Win: EMILY's List and the Rise of Women in American Politics. To help foster a collegial environment, the politician helped organized dinner parties for Senate women across party lines.
"They have Republican and Democratic women get together once a month and have dinner, and they drop all the partisan fighting. They got to be friends, they work together," Malcolm said.
"When the government was shut down last time [in 2013], it was the Republican and Democratic women that came together and figured out how to get the country going again," she added. "Sen. John McCain basically said, 'It was the women who really got us working together in opening up the government again.'"
The ability to negotiate across party lines is one of the "wonderful things" about having female lawmakers, Malcolm said, emphasizing that women cooperate and work together "to create compromises that keep the government going in a positive direction."
"They're not the ones screaming and yelling and stopping everything and creating this incredible gridlock," she continued. "They're the problem solvers in Congress, and we need more of them so we can get things going in a calmer, more positive direction."