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In an exclusive interview with the Los Angeles Sentinel the powerful congresswoman sets the record straight and says: “I am not a candidate for the 2nd supervisorial seat”
After months of speculation and anticipation Congresswoman Maxine Waters, the influential and well respected representative of the 35th Congressional District has decided that she will not run for the seat soon to be vacated by County Supervisor Yvonne Braithwaite Burke. In order to set the record straight the congresswoman sat down with the “Los Angeles Sentinel” and gave an in-depth interview about her plans for the future and why she chose not to run for the Board of Supervisors and to remain in congress.
LOS ANGELES SENTINEL (LAS): Your name has been mentioned as a possible candidate for the 2nd supervisorial district, will you be a candidate for that office?
CONGRESSWOMAN MAXINE WATERS (CMW): There is increasing speculation about whether or not I am going to be a candidate for the 2nd District County Supervisor seat. There is also considerable urging of me to run for the supervisor’s seat that is being vacated by Supervisor Yvonne Burke. Both my family and I have listened to many elected officials, ministers, community leaders, concerned individuals and friends, who believe I should relinquish my seat in Congress and return to Los Angeles and seek election to the 2nd district county seat. One labor leader shared with me a poll that had been conducted that documented my superior rating over several other potential candidates. The appreciation that has been shown for my work during my career is indeed flattering and humbling.
During the many hours of conversation I have had with so many citizens, I was told they believed the county needed my energy, my organizing skills and my strong legislative ability to ensure the re-opening of Martin Luther King Hospital; to re-open and expand health care clinics; to direct more resources; and to reduce the case loads of probation officers so that they can truly supervise and manage their clientele. They felt I would alleviate the worry of our county sheriff about pay and pension issues, and focus on crime and gang prevention.
Many residents want the county to reclaim and secure our county parks and make them more usable for our communities. They know that we must have an affordable transportation system, utilizing both buses and rail, and they have appreciated my work for both the youth of our nation and our seniors. I certainly appreciated the confidence, all of those urging me to run, have shown in me. However, I know that I cannot be all things to all people and that I have indeed worked very hard, and have earned a strong reputation as a committed leader over the years I have had to make a decision about my future in politics, and after much consideration I have decided not to run for the County Board of Supervisors and remain in Congress.
LAS: What made you decide to stay in Congress?
CMW: Congress is where I belong because it is where I believe I can do the maximum good for the most people in L.A. and the nation. My family and I have decided that I should continue to represent the 35th Congressional District, as well as be a continuing voice for progressive politics at the national level. I have been blessed with tremendous support to be a strong and active public policy making—first serving in the California State Assembly for 14 years and in the U.S. House of Representatives for the past 17 years.
I have successfully authored, and have signed into law in California, the first child abuse prevention legislation, the divestment of funds from businesses doing business in South Africa that helped to dismantle apartheid, changed the insurance laws for women to cover mastectomies, expanded and revitalized the California Science Center and created the Maxine Waters Employment Preparation Center. I have served in the leadership of the Assembly, served in the leadership of the House of Representatives as chief deputy whip, and when the Democrats won the majority in Congress, I became the chair of the sub-committee on housing and community opportunity. Since taking over that committee, I have authorized and passed out of committee over one dozen pieces of legislation, including a reauthorizing of “Section-8” housing assistance for low and moderate income people, and the revitalization of the FHA program that will provide home ownership opportunities for low and moderate income individuals.
I have passed legislation to return ‘Katrina’ victims to housing in the Gulf Coast, and in New Orleans in particular. In addition to the work in the committee I chair, I have introduced legislation on diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, and I continue to be a leader for increased funding for HIV and AIDS.
I have drafted legislation to prevent the encroachment of LAX into the residential areas of my district and I have earmarked funds for all areas of the district, including the cities of Lawndale, Inglewood, Hawthorne, Gardena and the Westchester area.
LAS: What are your priorities?
CMW: I founded the “Out of Iraq” caucus that is providing the leadership to end the war in Iraq. I am blessed to have the opportunity to be one of the 435 people in the Congress of the U.S. to make both domestic and foreign policy for this country. My work in South Africa, the Caribbean and Haiti in particular, is so important to the African Diaspora.
My family and I feel I must remain in Congress. Now is not the time to give up my seniority and expertise in the development of legislation and leadership. I must continue to work as a member of Congress and add my voice where it’s needed to solve local problems.
I recently traveled to Jena, Louisiana, to confront the Justice System on the inequality in the system, and the rise in the threat to minorities with the hanging of nooses and other threats.
I’m not afraid to speak up and speak out to protect the weak and the vulnerable. I stand for jobs, peace and justice. I believe I can continue to contribute to making this country stronger, more secure, more equal and more prosperous.
My place at this time, at this moment is in the House—the House of Representatives of the United States of America.