At 4’9” Senator Paula Colodny Hollinger was often the shortest member of the Maryland Senate but she proved a larger than life leader for the body in the 1990s.
Born in Washington, DC in 1940, Hollinger would chose a career in medicine that would serve her well in her time as a legislator.
A registered nurse after her graduation from Mt. Sinai School of Nursing in 1961, Hollinger would pursue elected office in 1978. She’d be elected to the Maryland House of Delegates and serve there from 1979 until her election to the Maryland Senate in 1986. Her Senate service would last some twenty years and would culminate in her ascension to the position regulating healthcare matters in the Maryland Senate (the Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee).
In her time as a legislator, Hollinger was known as thoughtful legislator with a dedication to public health paralleled by very few. For her efforts she was awarded on too many occasions to list completely. She was named Public Policy Advocate of the Year by the Alzheimer’s Association of Maryland (1999), Legislator of the Year by the Maryland Assisted-Living Association (1999), Legislator of the Year by the Mental Health Association of Maryland (2001), Legislator of the Year by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (2004), and three times a member of the Daily Record’s List of the Top 100 Women in Maryland (1999, 2001, and 2003).
Hollinger would leave the Maryland Senate in 2007. After her tenure in the Senate, she would go on to serve as an Associate Director of Health Workforce in Maryland’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene from 2007-2015 continuing her life’s work promoting public health.
Her career accomplishments wouldn’t be limited to health-related causes or just statewide successes. She’d also serve as a Delegate for two presidential hopefuls including then Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter in 1976 and for then Vice President Al Gore in 2000.
Through all of her accomplishments and her clear advocacy on behalf of the health and well-being of all Marylanders, Hollinger is definitively an example of one of the most effective legislators in the Maryland Senate over the 1990s.