As a long-standing member of the Congressional Black Caucus and a role model for female legislators across the country, Rep. Maxine Waters, an 11-term legislator, epitomizes tenacity and commitment to her constituents. Her 35-year career in elected office is a testament to her willingness to fight for the issues of which she is passionate.
In the House, Rep. Waters makes tough issues her specialty. She has fought for her constituents concerning economic policies, fair housing, women’s issues, crime, and concerns related to various groups of minority communities. Her district, encompassing several communities in south Los Angeles, is made up of primarily African-American and Latino constituents.
Most recently, she has taken steps to address the massive amount of foreclosures in her state, working to limit the impact on both the homeowners and the economy. In the 110th and 111th Congresses, she developed the Neighborhood Stabilization Program that put $6 billion toward lessening the impact from the housing crisis. Waters is also a strong advocate for minority-owned businesses and ensuring they get a fair cut of contracts and bidding opportunities.
Rep. Waters serves on both the Committees on Financial Services and the Judiciary. She founded the Out of Iraq Caucus in 2005 to press the government for an end to the Iraq War. She is also a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
Waters has been influential in national Democratic Party politics, serving on the Democratic National Committee for over 30 years. She has held a role in every Democratic presidential nominee’s candidacy from 1980-1996.
As an alumnae of California State University – Los Angeles, Rep. Waters holds a Bachelor of Arts degree. Shortly after her graduation, she began a career as a teacher and a Head Start volunteer coordinator.
Rep. Waters jumped into legislative politics in 1976 with her election to the California State Assembly. During her time there, she rose to the position of Democratic Caucus Chair. Her legislative accomplishments included the divestment of state pension funds from companies in South Africa, a country under apartheid rule at the time. Waters also made her mark with legislation about affirmative action, child abuse prevention, among other issues. She served in the body for 14 years until her election to U.S. House of Representatives in 1990.
Waters is married to Sidney Williams, a former U.S. ambassador to the Bahamas. She has two children – a son and a daughter – and two grandchildren.