Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey retired from the U. S. Congress this year having served as the representative from California's 6th District for ten terms in the House of Representatives.
As Co-Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Congresswoman Woolsey was a vocal and visible leader on progressive issues, particularly those dealing with children and families. A passionate and outspoken opponent of the Iraq war, she helped move public opinion against President Bush's failed Iraq policy. She introduced the first resolution calling for troops to be brought home and convened the first congressional hearing on military exit strategies, and introduced H.R. 508 the Bring Our Troops Home and Sovereignty of Iraq Restoration Act. The San Jose Mercury News recently called her "the unofficial matriarch of the [anti-war] movement in Congress."
Congresswoman Woolsey, as a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, believed that ending the Iraq war would be the beginning of a complete re-evaluation of U.S. national security policy. She proposed the Sensible Multilateral American Reengagement and Transition (SMART Security) which put an emphasis on peaceful resolution of international conflict. SMART would keep Americans safe through stronger global alliances and improved intelligence capabilities, as opposed to pre-emptive military strikes. SMART also calls for the United States to live up to its nonproliferation obligations, and it includes an ambitious humanitarian development agenda to address the hopelessness and oppression that give rise to terrorism in the first place.
As the Chairwoman of the Committee on Education and Labor's Workforce Protections Subcommittee, Congresswoman Woolsey helped to oversee policies that affect millions of American workers. Congresswoman Woolsey also sat on the Subcommittee on Elementary and Secondary Education. She worked on reform of the No Child Left Behind Act, to fully fund the law and make it more flexible and less punitive toward schools and school districts.
Since her appointment in 1993, Congresswoman Woolsey used her seat on the Committee on Education and Labor to provide children and families the tools they need to realize the American Dream. She was an advocate of special education and vocational education, and fought against job discrimination in Head Start and other federal programs. Congresswoman Woolsey also authored a School Breakfast Pilot Program that was signed into law by President Clinton.
During her time in Congress one of Congresswoman Woolsey's top priorities was a legislative package called "The Balancing Act," which aimed to help parents manage the challenge of the balance between work and family. Among the Balancing Act provisions are: paid family leave; public universal pre-school; major investments in child care; universal school breakfast; benefits for part-time workers; and telecommuting incentives.
Congresswoman Woolsey was also a Senior Member of the House Committee on Science and Technology, where she worked to reduce American dependence on foreign oil and promote the use of clean, efficient energy sources. In the recent energy bill, Congresswoman Woolsey was instrumental in securing over $2 billion in renewable energy research, development, demonstration and commercial application. The energy bill also included the "Woolsey Green Building Amendment," modeled after a project in her district, which will promote the use of renewable energy technology in public buildings. Congresswoman Woolsey has also introduced legislation to add the Sonoma coastline to the National Marine Sanctuary Program, thus protecting it from oil and gas drilling.
Having raised her family in California's North Bay and lived there for over 40 years, Congresswoman Woolsey understood the concerns and reflected the values of Sonoma and Marin County residents. She frequently said they are the most important voice she listens to; and she not only listened, she responded. Her Washington office alone received and answered over three thousand letters, phone calls, and emails from constituents each week.
Congresswoman Woolsey used her influence and seniority to modernize and upgrade North Bay infrastructure. Twice, she helped save the Petaluma Coast Guard Training Center from closure, and she helped secure more than $11 million for repairs that helped bring Fort Baker under the protection of the National Park Service. She was also able to get the federal money needed to build a thriving community and wetlands preserve at Hamilton Field — the nation's first such successful conversion of a military base. Over the years, Congresswoman Woolsey helped bring home $400 million in special projects to the 6th District. This included money for the expansion of Highway 101; a bicycle and pedestrian network for Marin County; natural gas buses in Sonoma County; and earthquake damage protection for the Golden Gate Bridge.
Before coming to the House of Representatives Congresswoman Woolsey was a Human Resources Manager for a large high-tech manufacturer in Marin County. In 1980, she opened her own human resources consulting and employment agency, Woolsey Personnel Service, while finishing her bachelor's degree at the University of San Francisco. She began her public service career in 1984 with a seat on the Petaluma City Council, where she served until she was sworn in to the United States House of Representatives in January 1993.
Since then, the people of the 6th district have returned Congresswoman Woolsey to office ten times.
Congresswoman Woolsey is the mother of four grown children and a grandmother of five.
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