Three social workers make ‘most influential’ list

CQ-Roll Call releases book naming 25 most powerful women in Congress

Barbara LeeThree social workers — U.S. Sen. Barbara Milkulski, D-Md.; Congressional Social Work Caucus Chairwoman U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee (photo right), D-Calif.; and U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich. — are included in a book called “Powerful Women: The 25 Most Influential Women in Congress,” which congressional news provider CQ-Roll Call released in May.

The book lists the 25 women under seven categories: Party Power; Media Savvy; Debate Shapers and Swing Votes; Policy Dealmakers; Policy Workhorses; Breaking Out; and Freshmen on the Rise.

NASW Senior Field Organizer Dina Kastner said having social workers on the list shows they are recognized for the skills they bring to the table on Capitol Hill.

“This highlights what we know about social workers: that they are great communicators, advocators and negotiators,” Kastner said. “NASW works with the social work members of Congress to champion legislation, and it is great to have such powerhouses on our team.”

Lee, who is listed in the category Debate Shapers and Swing Votes, said women represent just 20 percent of Congress members, and similar statistics hold true for state legislatures and local elected offices.

“We must do more to empower women and girls to take action, be part of the political conversation and seek elected office,” she said.

Lee added that she often reminds non-social worker colleagues that they should read the NASW Code of Ethics, because it is an excellent guide for policymakers, especially members of Congress.

“We need to get more social workers elected to Congress and empower all social workers to have a strong voice in the policies and priorities of our nation,” Lee said. “This is the best way to ensure that our nation’s top priority is protecting and empowering the most vulnerable.”

Barbara MilkulskiMikulsk (photo right)i, listed in the same category as Lee, says she is a dues-paying, card-carrying NASW member and throughout her career has been a foster care worker, a protective services worker, an administrator, a community organizer and an advocate.

She says social workers share a common set of beliefs — that all people are entitled to dignity and respect; that systems should serve the people, not the other way around; and that they must be a voice for the voiceless.

“Whenever I take to the Senate floor, I wear those principles on my heart and I fight for those principles in our laws,” Mikulski said. “One person can make a difference, together we can make change.”

Stabenow says public debate is all about setting priorities and using common sense, and the voices of social workers help keep the focus on what’s important to Americans who just want a fair shot to be able to care for their families and succeed.

“Social workers understand that all of our public policy decisions are connected in some way, just as we are all Debbie Stabenowconnected,” said Stabenow (photo right), who is in the category Policy Dealmakers. “We can focus on preventing costly social problems, or pay huge amounts of money to pick up the pieces later.”

“Powerful Women: The 25 Most Influential Women in Congress” is written by Emily Ethridge and the CQ-Roll Call newsroom, and available via print or ebook on Amazon. The book gives a brief history of women in Congress; provides an inside look at who has heft in Congress, and has in-depth profiles of the 25 women on the list.

CQ-Roll Call, an Economist Group business, provides essential intelligence and grassroots advocacy resources. CQ-Roll Call publishes Roll Call, which reports on Congressional news and campaigns; and CQ Weekly.