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Biography Lynn Woolsey

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Lynn Woolsey Lynn Woolsey
Lynn Woolsey
Former U.S. Representative for California's 6th congressional district, serving from 1993 to 2013 - member of the Democratic Party.


Lynn Woolsey Biography

ENG: Lynn C. Woolsey (born November 3, 1937) was the U.S. Representative for California's 6th congressional district, serving from 1993 to 2013. She is a member of the Democratic Party. The district she represented included all of Marin County and most of Sonoma County. She was a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and was its co-chair from 2010 until her retirement in 2013. Woolsey, who described herself as "the first former welfare mother to serve in Congress," was one of two members of the House to have been on welfare; the other is Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D-WI).

On June 28, 2011, Woolsey announced that she would not run for re-election in the 2012 election.


Early life, education and career

Woolsey was born in Seattle, Washington. She was educated at the University of Washington, where she became a member of Alpha Phi sorority, and at the University of San Francisco. She later became a human resources manager and personnel service owner, a teacher at the College of Marin and the Dominican University of California, and a member of the Petaluma, California, City Council before entering the House.


U.S. House of Representatives - Political campaigns

In 1992, five-term Congresswoman Barbara Boxer gave up her seat to make a successful run for the Senate. Woolsey entered a nine-way Democratic primary. Seven of her opponents lived in Marin County and split that county's vote, allowing Woolsey to win the nomination with only 26 percent of the vote. In the general election, she faced Republican Assemblyman Bill Filante, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor and did not actively campaign. Woolsey won with 65 percent of the vote.

Woolsey was reelected eight times with no substantial opposition.


Controversies - Darfur protest arrest

Woolsey was arrested April 27, 2009, outside the embassy of Sudan in Washington, D.C., during a protest against genocide in Darfur. Woolsey and four other U.S. lawmakers were protesting the blocking of aid to victims. They were arrested on a charge of trespassing after they crossed a police line.

Other Democratic House members arrested were Jim McGovern, Donna Edwards, Keith Ellison and John Lewis.


Stewart Pearson letter

On December 2, 2003, Woolsey wrote a letter on behalf of Stewart Pearson, the son of one of her senior aides, who had pleaded guilty to rape. In a letter written on her official congressional stationery, she asked the judge to consider mitigating circumstances and show leniency. The judge in the case was not swayed by the letter, and sentenced Pearson to eight years in prison, the maximum allowed under the plea bargain. Woolsey has apologized for writing the letter, saying she did not know all the facts; the victim did not accept her apology.





January 30, 2013

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