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Maxine Waters


Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 35th district
Incumbent
Assumed office 
January 3, 1991
Preceded by Augustus Hawkins

In office
1977–1991

Born August 15, 1938 (1938-08-15) (age 71)
St. Louis, Missouri
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Sidney Williams
Residence Los Angeles, California
Alma mater California State University, Los Angeles
Occupation Politician, Teacher
Religion Non-denominational Protestant

Maxine Waters (born Maxine Moore Carr; August 15, 1938) is a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives since 1991, representing California's 35th congressional district (map). She resides in the Hancock Park area of Los Angeles, which is approximately six miles west of downtown. She is the most senior of the twelve African American women currently serving in the United States Congress.

Her husband, Sidney Williams played professional football in the NFL[1] and is a former U.S. Ambassador to the Bahamas.

Contents

Background

One of thirteen children, Waters was born in St. Louis, Missouri, to Remus and Velma Lee Carr Moore. She graduated from Vashon High School in St. Louis, and moved with her family to Los Angeles, California, in 1961. She worked in a garment factory and as a telephone operator before being hired as an assistant teacher with the Head Start program at Watts in 1966.

She later enrolled at Los Angeles State College (now California State University, Los Angeles), and graduated with a sociology degree in 1970. In 1973, she went to work as chief deputy to newly-elected City Councilman David S. Cunningham, Jr..

Political career

Waters entered the California State Assembly in 1976. While in the assembly she worked for divestment of state pension funds from any businesses active in South Africa, a country then operating under the racist policy of apartheid. Waters ultimately helped frame successful legislation within the guidelines of the divestment campaign's Sullivan Principles.[2] Waters eventually ascended to the position of Democratic Caucus Chair for the Assembly.[3]

Upon the retirement of Augustus F. Hawkins in 1990, Waters was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives for California's 29th congressional district with over 79% of the popular vote; she has been re-elected each time (now in the California's 35th congressional district), with at least 70% of the popular vote. (Significant parts of the pre-1990 29th California Congressional District were folded into the newly defined 35th California Congressional District after California gained seven additional seats in the House following the 1990 United States Census.)

Following a 1996 San Jose Mercury article alleging the complicity of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the Los Angeles crack epidemic of the 1980s, Waters called for an investigation into the matter. In her request, Waters asked whether "U.S.-government paid or organized operatives smuggled, transported and sold it to American citizens."[4] The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) announced it had failed to find any evidence to support the original story.[5] The Los Angeles Times also concluded after its own extensive investigation that the allegations were not supported by evidence.[6] The author of the original story was eventually transferred to a different beat and removed from investigative reporting.[7] Following these post-publication investigations, Waters read into the Congressional Record a memorandum of understanding in which former President Ronald Reagan's CIA director rejected any duty by the CIA to report illegal narcotics trafficking to the Department of Justice.[8][9]

As a Democratic representative in Congress, Waters was a superdelegate to the 2008 Democratic National Convention. She endorsed Democratic Senator Hillary Clinton for the party's nomination in late January 2008, granting the New York Senator nationally-recognized support that some suggested would "make big waves."[10][11] Subsequently, however, Waters switched her endorsement to Sen. Barack Obama, by then insurmountably ahead in the pledged delegate count, on the final day of primary voting.[12][13]

Policy positions

Iraq War

Waters voted against the Iraq War Resolution, the 2002 resolution that funded and granted Congressional approval to possible military action against the regime of Saddam Hussein.[14] She has remained a consistent critic of the subsequent war. Waters asserted in 2007 that President George W. Bush was trying to "set [Congress] up" by continually requesting funds for an "occupation" that is "draining" the country of capital, soldier's lives, and other resources. In particular, she argued that the very economic resources being "wasted" in Iraq were those that might provide universal health care or fully fund President Bush's own "No Child Left Behind" education bill. Additionally, Waters, representing a congressional district whose median income falls far below the national average, argued that patriotism alone had not been the sole driving force for those U.S. service personnel serving in Iraq. Rather, "many of them needed jobs, they needed resources, they needed money, so they're there."[15] In a subsequent floor speech, Waters told her colleagues that Congress, lacking the votes to override the "inevitable Bush veto on any Iraq-related legislation," needed to "better [challenge] the administration's false rhetoric about the Iraq war" and "educate our constituents [about] the connection between the problems in Pakistan, Turkey, and Iran with the problems we have created in Iraq."[16] A few months prior to these speeches Waters became a cosponsor of the House resolution to impeach Vice President Dick Cheney for making allegedly "false statements" about the war.[17]

Nationalizing the United States' petroleum industry

In May 2008, Waters told Shell Oil President John Hofmeister at the House Judiciary Committee's Task Force on Competition Policy and Antitrust law, that if he did not guarantee reduced gasoline prices in exchange for Congress allowing the oil industry to drill where it wished, she would favor nationalizing American petroleum companies. She mispoke in a widely reported gaffe: "Guess what this liberal will be all about, this liberal will be all about socializing... taking over and the government running all of your companies."[18]

The Stop VULTURE Funds Act

In August 2008, Waters introduced HR 6796, or the "Stop Very Unscrupulous Loan Transfers from Underprivileged countries from Rich Exploitive Funds Act," also known as the Stop VULTURE Funds Act. This would limit the ability of investors in sovereign debt to use U.S. courts to enforce those instruments against a defaulting country. The bill, which died in committee, was evidently inspired by litigation in the late 1990s and early years of the new century brought by Elliot Associates against the Republic of Peru. [19]

Controversies

CREW "Most Corrupt" list

In its 2009 report, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) named Waters one of the 15 most corrupt members of Congress. She was also included in their 2005 and 2006 reports.[20]

Presentation of the Mace

On July 29, 1994 Waters was challenged for making inappropriate remarks during a one-minute speech. She then ignored the Chair’s request to suspend speaking until the point of order was settled. Rep. Robert Walker (R-PA) rose and called out "get the Mace," to restore order. The Chair kept pounding the gavel and finally stated, "the Chair is about to direct the Sgt-at-Arms to present the Mace!" Waters then suspended, and the Chair was able to rule on the point of order without having to resort to the Mace. [21]

Opposed KTLA license renewal

After the Los Angeles Times published allegations of nepotism against her and an expose of the King Drew Medical Center, Waters asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to deny a waiver of the crossownership ban, and hence license renewal, for KTLA-TV, a station the newspaper owned. Claiming that "The Los Angeles Times has had an inordinate effect on public opinion and has used it to harm the local community in specific instances," Waters requested that the FCC force the paper to either sell its station or risk losing that station's broadcast rights.[22] Such challenges, according to Broadcasting & Cable, "raise the specter of costly legal battles to defend station holdings.... At a minimum, defending against one would cost tens of thousands of dollars in lawyers' fees and probably delay license renewal about three months."[23] Waters' petition was ultimately unsuccessful; the station's license next expires in 2014.[24]

Los Angeles riots of 1992

During the Los Angeles riots of 1992, Waters appeared on television as a commentator. Waters said "If you call it a riot it sounds like it was just a bunch of crazy people who went out and did bad things for no reason. I maintain it was somewhat understandable, if not acceptable. So I call it a rebellion."[25]

Relatives' business interests

In December 2004 Los Angeles Times showed that Maxine Water's relatives had made more than $1 million during the preceding eight years by doing business with companies, candidates and causes that Waters had helped. Her reply was: "They do their business and I do mine."[26]

Involvement with OneUnited Bank

Waters' husband is a stockholder and former director of OneUnited Bank, and the bank's executives were major contributors to her campaigns. In September 2008, Waters arranged meetings between U.S. Treasury Department officials and OneUnited Bank, so that the bank could plead for federal cash. It had been heavily invested in Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, and its capital was "all but wiped out" after the U.S. government took them over. The bank did secure $12 million in Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) money.[27][28] The matter is currently being investigated by the House Ethics Committee.[29]

Confrontation with Dave Obey

On June 25, 2009, Waters got into a fight on the House floor with fellow Democratic Congressman and Appropriations Committee Chairman Dave Obey of Wisconsin. After the House floor had largely cleared following a series of votes, Waters and Obey split apart from a heated conversation about an earmark requested by Waters for a public school employment training center in Los Angeles that was named after herself. Obey rejected the earmark as violating policies against so-called "monuments to me." Waters revised her request to go to the school district's whole adult employment training program, so the district could decide whether the money would go to the school named after herself. Nonetheless, Obey let it be known that the earmark would be denied. She approached him and complained, shouting, "You’re out of line!" while walking down toward the well in the House chambers. Obey shouted back, "You’re out of line!" before turning and walking away, but stopped, turned back toward Waters, and shouted, "I'm not going to approve that earmark!" He again turned away while Waters huddled with members of the Congressional Black Caucus and was overheard saying, "He touched me first." before being escorted into the cloakroom. Obey went to talk with House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer when Waters briefly returned again, telling her colleagues, "He touched me." before returning to the cloakroom. An aide to Waters said that Obey had pushed her while Obey's spokesperson, Ellis Brachman, placed the blame on Waters for escalating the situation.[30]

Gaffes

On February 24, 2010, in congressional hearings with Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, Maxine Waters, despite serving on the Financial Services Committee, revealed she is completely unaware of the difference between the Federal Reserve 'discount rate' and 'federal funds rate'. [31]

Earmarks

Citizens Against Government Waste named her the June 2009 Porker of the Month due to her intention to obtain an earmark for the Maxine Waters Employment Preparation Center. [32]

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

Other accomplishments

  • Maxine Waters Preparation Center in Watts, California - named after her while she was a member of the California Assembly
  • Co-founder of Black Women’s Forum
  • Founder of Project Build
  • Received the Bruce F. Vento Award from the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty for her work on behalf of homeless persons.

References

  1. ^ http://www.politicsdaily.com/2009/10/28/bruce-editing-rep-maxine-waters-congress-should-yank-nfls-an/
  2. ^ French, Howard W. (February 9, 1987). "SLASH TIES, APARTHEID FOES URGE". New York Times: p. D1. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B0DE1D6143AF93AA35751C0A961948260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all. Retrieved 2009-03-13. "Maxine Waters, a member of the California Assembly who helped frame her state's pension fund divestment bill, has promised to work overtime to insure that our legislation reflects these guidelines and continues to target any and all U.S. companies that are doing business in or with South Africa." 
  3. ^ "About Congresswoman Maxine Waters : Representing the 35th District of California". http://www.house.gov/waters/bio/. Retrieved 2009-03-13. "During 14 years in the California State Assembly, she rose to the powerful position of Democratic Caucus Chair. She was responsible for some of the boldest legislation California has ever seen: the largest divestment of state pension funds from South Africa; landmark affirmative action legislation; the nation’s first statewide Child Abuse Prevention Training Program; the prohibition of police strip searches for nonviolent misdemeanors; and the introduction of the nation’s first plant closure law."  (Congressman's official web site)
  4. ^ Waters date=August 30, 1996, Maxine. "Drugs". The Narco News Bulletin. http://www.narconews.com/darkalliance/drugs/library/32.htm. Retrieved 2009-03-13. "What those articles traced, among other things, is the long-term relationship between Norwin Meneses, a Nicaraguan drug trafficker, Danilo Blandon, a Nicaraguan businessperson connected to the Contra rebels as well as a drug trader, and Ricky Ross, an American who worked with Blandon distributing crack cocaine in this country. These individuals represent a much broader and more troubling relationship between U.S. intelligence and security policy, drug smuggling, and the spread of crack cocaine into the United States.]] Letter to U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno" 
  5. ^ Cockburn, Alexander; Jeffrey St Clair (October 1, 1999). Whiteout: The CIA, Drugs and the Press. Verso. ISBN 1-85984-258-5. 
  6. ^ CIA-Contra-Crack Cocaine Controversy
  7. ^ "Are You Sure You Want to Ruin Your Career?"
  8. ^ Waters, Maxine (07 May 1998). "Casey". Congressional Record?. California State University Northridge. pp. H2970–H2978. Archived from the original on Sep 10, 2004. http://web.archive.org/web/20040910214409/http://www.csun.edu/coms/ben/news/cia/7May98/waters2.html. Retrieved 2009-03-14. 
  9. ^ Casey
  10. ^ "The endorsements that would make huge waves". The Hill (newspaper). 12/06/07. http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/the-endorsements-that-would-make-huge-waves-2007-12-06.html. Retrieved 009-03-13. "Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.). The outspoken anti-war liberal, who campaigned for Ned Lamont (D) over Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) last year, has not picked a favorite." 
  11. ^ Bombardieri, Marcella (January 29, 2008). "Maxine Waters for Clinton - 2008 Presidential Campaign Blog - Political Intelligence". Boston Globe. http://www.boston.com/news/politics/politicalintelligence/2008/01/maxine_waters_f.html. Retrieved 2009-03-14. 
  12. ^ California 2008 presidential primary and superdelegates - Congresspedia
  13. ^ The Superdelegate Tally - The Caucus - Politics - New York Times Blog
  14. ^ "Final Vote Results for Roll Call 455, H J RES 114 To Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq". Clerk of the United States House of Representatives. 10-Oct-2002. http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2002/roll455.xml. Retrieved 2009-03-14. 
  15. ^ [1]
  16. ^ [2]
  17. ^ Washington Times - Cheney ouster gains backers
  18. ^ "Special Report with Brit Hume", Fox News May 27, 2008;
  19. ^ (Gov Track)
  20. ^ http://www.crewsmostcorrupt.org/summaries/mwaters.php
  21. ^ C-SPAN>
  22. ^ Waters, Maxine (November 1, 2006). "Petition to Deny Request for Renewal of Broadcast License". http://www.house.gov/apps/list/hearing/ca35_waters/CS061101_fcc.html. Retrieved 2009-03-13. "Tribune influenced public opinion in the Los Angeles DMA to harm its residents and one of its most critical public health facilities – the Martin Luther King/Drew Medical Center (King/Drew)." 
  23. ^ McConnell, Bill (September 19, 2004). "Your Money or Your License". Broadcasting & Cable. http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/CA454236.html. Retrieved 2009-03-13. 
  24. ^ "Station Search Details". Federal Communications Commission. http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/cdbs/pubacc/prod/sta_det.pl?Facility_id=35670. Retrieved 2009-03-13. "Call Sign: KTLA ... Channel: 5 ... Lic Expir: 12/01/2014" 
  25. ^ Was it a 'riot,' a 'disturbance' or a 'rebellion'? - Los Angeles Times
  26. ^ New York Times - Maxine Waters
  27. ^ Schmidt, Susan (March 12, 2009). "Waters Helped Bank Whose Stock She Once Owned". Wall Street Journal. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123682571772404053.html. Retrieved 2009-03-13. "Ms. Waters, who represents inner-city Los Angeles, hasn't made a secret of her family's financial interest in OneUnited. Referring to her family's investment, she said in 2007 during a congressional hearing that for African-Americans, "the test of your commitment to economic expansion and development and support for business is whether or not you put your money where your mouth is."" 
  28. ^ Lipton, Eric; Jim Rutenberg, Barclay Walsh (March 12, 2009). "Congresswoman, Tied to Bank, Helped Seek Funds". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/13/us/politics/13waters.html?scp=1&sq=OneUnited%20Waters%20Williams&st=cse. Retrieved 2009-03-13. "Top federal regulators say they were taken aback when they learned that a California congresswoman who helped set up a meeting with bankers last year had family financial ties to a bank whose chief executive asked them for up to $50 million in special bailout funds." 
  29. ^ Margasak, Larry (September 16, 2009). "Ethics panel defers probe on Jesse Jackson Jr.". Associated Press. http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5isD4Tm-5D4OFcA0LUEPQcnltY46AD9AOHICO2. Retrieved 2009-09-16. 
  30. ^ Allen, Jared; Mike Soraghan (June 25, 2009). "Obey, Waters in noisy floor fight". The Hill. http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/obey-waters-in-noisy-floor-fight-2009-06-25.html. Retrieved 2009-06-26. 
  31. ^ "House Financial Services Committee". House Financial Services Committee. 2/24/2010. http://www.house.gov/apps/list/hearing/financialsvcs_dem/hrfcHH_02242010.shtml. Retrieved 2010-02-24. 
  32. ^ "Rep. Maxine Waters is CAGW’s June Porker of the Month". Citizens Against Government Waste. April 2009. http://www.cagw.org/site/PageServer?pagename=news_porkerofthemonth_2009_June. Retrieved 2009-07-11. 

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Augustus F. Hawkins
United States Representative for the 29th District of California
1991–1993
Succeeded by
Henry Waxman
Preceded by
Jerry Lewis
United States Representative for the 35th District of California
1993–Present
Succeeded by
Incumbent
United States order of precedence
Preceded by
Sam Johnson
United States Representatives by seniority
73rd
Succeeded by
Collin Peterson

Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Maxine Waters (born August 15, 1938) has served as a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives since 1991, representing the 35th District of California.

Sourced

  • "If you call it a riot it sounds like it was just a bunch of crazy people who went out and did bad things for no reason. I maintain it was somewhat understandable, if not acceptable. So I call it a rebellion."
  • "I don't see white police officers slamming the heads of little white boys into police cars."
  • "But we’re at a time when very smart people have been allowing this dumb-ass President of the United States to do as he pleases."
  • "A person who could be appointed to the Supreme Court who shared my ethnicity, one would think, would come in and meet with our black caucus,".
  • "The president is a liar. Dick Cheney, the chief architect of the Big Lie, is not only a liar, he is a thief."

Notes and references

External links

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