Saturday, October 21, 2017
Congresswoman Diane E. Watson
By Yussuf Simmonds (Managing Editor)
Published June 12, 2008

She represents her constituents with grace, flair and commitment to excellence

Congresswoman Diane E. Watson first went to Congress in 2001, having been an ambassador, a state senator and a school board member, and since then she has been overwhelmingly re-elected to Congress—most recently on June 3, where she captured 88 percent of the vote in her 33rd Congressional District.

In Congress, Watson’s work is treasured in her committee assignments which include the Foreign Affairs Committee; the Oversight and Government Reform Committee; the Congressional Entertainment Industries Caucus (Chair); the Congressional Korea Caucus (co-Chair); and the U.S.-UK Caucus (co-Chair). In addition, she supports military withdrawal from Iraq, expanding welfare coverage and opposes the President’s plans for social security.

061208_DianeWatsonFor her constituents, Watson played a key role in securing $2.5 million in grants for job training in the entertainment industry trades at West Los Angeles College (WLAC), which is located in her district. An alumna of the Community College system and a former educator, Watson knows the importance of education in the pursuit of excellence for her constituents. As a zealous advocate of quality education, she said, “I owe everything I am today to the community colleges; they gave us the platform we needed to go on to universities.” WLAC president Dr. Mark W. Rocha thanked her and stated, “Congresswoman Watson understands that a sound local economy is built on education and workforce training for the high-wage jobs of the 21st century.”

Watson also keeps her constituents abreast of her congressional activities with “A Message From Your Representative” on her website. According to the Congresswoman, her website generally receive 10,000 visitors each month. Recently, she announced $14 million in federal funds for her district. The recipients of the funds include the following:

  • $400,000 for the Western States Black Research and Educational Center, better known as the Mayme Clayton Library—a treasure trove of Black history.
  • $1.5 million for alternative energy research at the University of Southern California (USC).
  • $8 million in HUD grants for the Marlton Square project.
  • $2.7 million for Municipal Transit Operations Coalition bus facility upgrade.

Besides her legislative work in Congress, Watson speaks to the needs of her constituents within the district. With the economy (foreclosure and gas prices) as the number one issue among the electorate—including the presidential candidates—she initiated a free “Foreclosure Prevention Forum” to discuss the housing crisis; devised a plan to hold foreign oil cartels and Big Oil accountable; and outlined a series of steps in Congress to help bring down the cost of gasoline. The Congresswoman is in step not only with her constituents, but also with the nation when she emphasized, “We need to make our nation energy independent.”

As a member of the 73-member Out-of-Iraq Congressional Caucus and the 43-member Congressional Black Caucus, Watson uses her membership to bolster her time and efforts on behalf of her constituents and to expand legislative influence wherever the need arises.

Last weekend, Watson spoke at Langston University, Oklahoma, at the Descendants of Freedman Association 5th Annual Conference, on behalf of the Cherokee Nation. She said, “I introduced H.R. 2824, legislation that severs U.S. government relations with the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma until such time as the Nation restores full tribal citizenship to the Cherokee Freedmen disenfranchised in the March 2007 Cherokee Nation vote.” The fact that 24 members of Congress have co-sponsored the legislation with the Congresswoman is a testament of her power of persuasion and her ability to get things done.

And when the President announced the so-called surge against the findings of “his own Iraq Study Group,” Watson issued the following statement, “I am adamantly opposed to President Bush’s decision to escalate the number of American troops in Iraq. It is a weak and last-ditch effort to control the rapidly deteriorating security situation in Iraq. It will not work.” And it has not. Just because there is a decrease in American casualties, is no cause for rejoicing. At the cost of over 4,000 American soldiers, the Congresswoman’s position is in step with the nation.

A sampling of her work in the Congress can be glimpsed from the kinds of legislative and non-legislative activities that she introduces and/or is associated with such as the Amendment to Strengthen Diversity in U.S. Armed Forces; on her work to honor the nation’s troops and veterans; backing a new law to suspend filling the Strategic Petroleum Reserve; and nudging the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to classify mercury filling in its dentistry ruling.

A few years ago when local communities across the country were forced to make deep cuts in their low income rental assistance program (Section 8 Subsidies), Watson led the fight to reverse the cuts vowing to continue the fight until full funding of the program was restored. She has been in the trenches fighting for equal rights, equal opportunities and justice for all American for decades. She is an asset to her community and a legislator of the highest order.

Categories: Political

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