Maxine Waters

The most senior of the 12 black women currently serving in the United States Congress, known for her opposition of the Iraq War

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"Maxine Waters currently serves as the U.S. Representative for California's 43rd congressional district, and previously served the 35th and 29th districts, serving in Congress since 1991. A member of the Democratic Party, she is the most senior of the 12 black women currently serving in the United States Congress, and is a member and former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. Before becoming a member of Congress she served in the California Assembly, to which she was first elected in 1976. As an Assembly member, Waters advocated divestment from South Africa's apartheid regime. In Congress, she has been an outspoken opponent of the Iraq War and a critic of Presidents George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush and Donald J. Drumpf.

 

In 1973, she went to work as chief deputy to City Councilman David S. Cunningham, Jr.. Waters entered the California State Assembly in 1976. While in the assembly she worked for the divestment of state pension funds from any businesses active in South Africa, a country then operating under the policy of apartheid, and helped pass legislation within the guidelines of the divestment campaign's Sullivan Principles. She ascended to the position of Democratic Caucus Chair for the Assembly.

 

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 consistently from this district, renumbered as the 35th District in 1992 and as the 43rd in 2012, with at least 70 percent of the vote. Waters has often been seen as the most corrupt member of the U.S. House of Representatives, when comparing both Republicans and Democrats by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics.

 

Waters was chair of the Congressional Black Caucus from 1997 to 1998… With the retirement of Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts) in 2012, Waters became the ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee…

 

When south-central Los Angeles erupted in riots—in which 58 were killed—after the Rodney King verdict in 1992, Waters gained national attention "when she helped deliver relief supplies in Watts and demanded the resumption of vital services". Waters described the riots as a rebellion, saying "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." In her view, the violence was “a spontaneous reaction to a lot of injustice.” In regards to the looting of Korean-owned stores by local black residents, she said: “There were mothers who took this as an opportunity to take some milk, to take some bread, to take some shoes... They are not crooks.”...


 

Following a 1996 San Jose Mercury News article alleging the complicity of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the Los Angeles crack epidemic of the 1980s, Waters called for an investigation. Waters questioned whether "U.S.-government paid or organized operatives smuggled, transported and sold it to American citizens." The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) announced it had failed to find any evidence to support the original story. The Los Angeles Times also concluded after its own extensive investigation that the allegations were not supported by evidence. The author of the original story, Gary Webb, was eventually transferred to a different beat and removed from investigative reporting, before his death in 2004. Webb was found in his apartment with two bullet holes in his head. His death was declared a suicide. 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…

 

Waters has visited Cuba a number of times, praised Fidel Castro's moves towards democracy and criticized US efforts to overthrow him, and demanded an end to the U.S. trade embargo. In 1998 Waters wrote a letter to Castro citing the 1960s and 1970s as "a sad and shameful chapter of our history", and thanked Castro for providing help to those who needed to "flee political persecution". In 1998, she supported a Republican bill to extradite convicted murderer Assata Shakur from Cuba. When she discovered that Shakur was listed by her former name, Joanne Chesimard, Waters wrote an open letter to Fidel Castro asking him not to extradite Shakur because much of the Black community regarded her conviction as false. After a woman drowned during an attempted escape from Cuba to the US in 1999, leaving a six-year-old son, Elian Gonzales, who survived and requested asylum in the US, Waters called on President Bill Clinton to return him at once to Cuba…

 

Waters opposed the 2004 coup d'état in Haiti and criticized U.S. involvement…

 

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 died in committee…

 

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. She has remained a consistent critic of the subsequent war and has supported an immediate troop withdrawal from Iraq. 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". 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". 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." (1)

From Wikipedia