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Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey Announces Retirement

Says she won't seek reelection come November; Won't endorse any of the three candidates in the running.

Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey, who has represented Marin and Sonoma counties in Washington for the past 19 years, announced Monday that she would not be seeking re-election after her term expires this year.

At an event at her Petaluma home, Woolsey thanked family, friends and allies for support during her 10 terms in the U.S. Congress.

Check out the video on the right

“With enormous gratitude and not an ounce of regret, I’m announcing that I will not run for election in 2012,” said Woolsey, who will turn 75 this November. “So I leave it to you, you brilliant, smart constituents to decide for the Sixth District who should take the mantle and continue this important work.”

Standing at Woolsey’s side Monday was her close friend and colleague Rep. Barbara Lee, who together protested U.S. involvement in Iraq and formed the Out of Iraq Congressional Caucus in 2005.

“Our leadership helped hasten the end of a major combat operation in Iraq,” Woolsey said Monday to thunderous applause. “But we still have 100,000 troops in Afghanistan, 50,000 in Iraq and the risk of being involved in perpetual war.”

She also recalled her accomplishments in the region, including saving funding for Hamilton Air Field, helping open UCSF's Center for Excellence in Women's Health, a leader in breast cancer treatment, and creating a free breakfast program for school children.

On Tuesday, Skaggs Island will be transfered to Fish and Wildlife Service to be included in the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge, which Woolsey helped accomplish via an amendment she authored.

Three Democrats have expressed interest in her seat, including Assemblymember Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael), media critic Norman Solomon and Marin County Supervisor Susan Adams.

Huffman on Monday declined to comment on his plans for Woolsey’s office, only saying that he would make a formal announcement soon.

Instead, Huffman praised Woolsey’s track record and her ability to listen to constituents and represent them in Washington, DC.

“She’s a member of Congress who was genuinely connected to her district,” Huffman said. “We’d walk into a diner and people would know her or ranchers in West Marin—who were not her typical supporters—would come and greet her…That was part of the secret of her success.”

Asked about how she’d spent her time after retirement, Woolsey  said that she was looking forward to spending time with her family, that includes four children and five grandchildren. Woolsey, who was a Petaluma City Councilwoman from 1985 to 1992, said she didn’t plan to get involved in Petaluma politics again, but always followed what was going on.

“Whatever I do, I will be doing useful things,” she said.

Sierra Salin June 29, 2011 at 03:18 PM
And shame on all of us! Lynn was better than most and she did not go near far enough, and compromised too much. No Child left behind and Race to the Bottom, are disasters. Education, first, and foremost. Wars, bailouts, waste, etc, Nevermore! Homeland insecurity, etc. We need to overhaul the entire system, before nature which supports us, collapses. Money and profits mean little. Lets create a livable future. I believe Normon Solomon has thesmarts, integrity, heart and values that we need in polititians. No more endless war's, and corporate business and dollar profits are everything folks. Our consume everything and turn it into lifeless landfill mentality is wiping out living nature which supports ALL life. lWe need to change our system, and fast, or we are all toast. Nature has such little regard for the insane and self serving rules and laws of humans, and we are ignoring them at our own peril. A bunch of babbling monkeys are more intelligent and saner than we are. What are we giving back folks? Shame on us all! Now why don't we all just drive to the mall in our suv, and go shopping for some cheap disposable crap, made by slaves, from once living enviornments. Oops.
Tina McMillan June 29, 2011 at 04:40 PM
Normon Solomon is an author, media critic and antiwar activist. http://www.normansolomon.com/norman_solomon/2011/01/why-i-may-run-for-congress.html http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=10&author_id=167 Though Mr. Solomon may be passionate about the causes he represents we need a representative able to address a much broader array of causes. Arnold has not indicated that she would make a run for congress: Adams has, Huffman has and Solomon has. I'm still waiting for an opportunity to choose a representative that will also hold dear the collapse of the economy that has forced people out of their homes and jobs. Someone with the ability to bring California moderates together as a solid voting base. We need consensus if we are going to create lasting change in broad arenas at the state and federal levels.
Sierra Salin June 29, 2011 at 08:47 PM
We don't need any more of the same corporate Amerika $ are everything, and war bankrupting anything worthwhile. Fact is we are living in a corporate dictatorship, and there is little true freedom or liberty. Consensus only works with sane people who have any bits of morals or ethics, and are not just out for themselves or their own special interest group. Some things should never be compromised on, for any reason. Toxic wastes and nukes are prime examples. Our system is all about power and money, individual empire and profit, and we have forgotten, failed, and bailed, on our responsibilities to a liveable future. We are terrible and horrible stewards (we are in fact consumers) who have reduced all life to a dollar value, and nothing can exist in and of itself, unmolested. The environments which sustain all life need to be the basis for our laws, and not something to compromise through consenseless. There are basic rights which all living things should have. Right now, everything is about money........... how much is the Gulf worth Or Fukushima or an education or healthcare or health? How much is life worth?
G Man July 01, 2011 at 08:04 AM
"Ding dong, the witch is gone!" I'm happy to hear this news but am saddened at the realization that the seat will be filled with a younger and more radical person than her (is that possible?). The districts are fixed. Of all the districts in CA up in the last election only TWO changed hands! Things will never change unless we start changing some of these poloticians. We limit the president to two terms but we let congressmen collect dust on capitol hill. Woolsey didn't represent all the people of her district. Good riddens, Ms. Woolsey. Don't let the door hit you on the way out. Oh, enjoy that golden parachute I bought you. ;)
Jon H July 07, 2011 at 12:07 AM
I can't personally comment in regards to her service to constituents, but Rep. Woolsey has been a reliably progressive vote over the years. She is right on the vast majority of votes she took every, from the Patriot Act to the Iraq/Afghanistan/Libya wars. I felt that the most regrettable thing was to see her change her vote on the '08 bailout, voting against it before voting for it. Nonetheless, one of the most progressive members of Congress. I hope the next one for the area is as progressive.

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