- Former Democratic Member of the House of Representatives
- Was a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus
- Retired from Congress in 2013
Born in Seattle, Washington on November 3, 1937, Lynn Woolsey worked as a human resources manager with Harris Digital Telephone Systems from 1969 until 1980, at which time she began a twelve-year stint as founder and owner of Woolsey Personnel Services, an employment agency. In 1981 Woolsey earned a BS degree in Human Resources and Organizational Behavior from the University of San Francisco. And in 1984 she was elected to the Petaluma (California) City Council, where she served until 1992. Also during that time period, Woolsey taught at both the College of Marin and the Dominican University of California.
In 1992 Woolsey ran as a Democrat for California’s 6th Congressional District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. After her popular Republican opponent was diagnosed with a brain tumor and stopped campaigning, Woolsey easily won election (with 65% of the vote) amid that year’s Bill Clinton victory tide. She became a leading member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and went on to hold her seat in House until 2013, when she retired.
As co-chair of the Democratic Caucus Task Force on Welfare Reform, Woolsey in 1996 fought passionately against the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act—a law that ultimately moved large numbers of people off the welfare rolls and into paid jobs.
In June 2005 Woolsey was a founding member of the Out of Iraq Congressional Caucus, along with such notables as John Conyers, Barbara Lee, John Lewis, Charles Rangel, Jan Schakowsky, and Maxine Waters.
In September 2005 Woolsey addressed a Washington, DC anti-Iraq War rally sponsored by International ANSWER and United for Peace and Justice. Among her fellow speakers were Amiri Baraka, Ramsey Clark, George Galloway, Cynthia McKinney, Al Sharpton, and Lynne Stewart.
In early 2006, Woolsey invited antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan to attend President Bush’s January 31st State Of The Union (SOTU) address with her. “I’m proud that Cindy’s my guest tonight,” Woolsey told reporters, adding that the invitation was not “a political statement at all.” Just a few hours earlier, Sheehan—who had recently gone to Venezuela with Code Pink leaders Medea Benjamin and Jodie Evans to meet with President Hugo Chavez—had participated in a World Can’t Wait-organized anti-war, anti-Bush demonstration in front of the White House. And shortly before Bush began to deliver his SOTU address, Sheehan was arrested by Capitol Police inside the House chamber when she exposed—and refused to cover up—her previously concealed T-shirt which read “2,245 Dead [American Soldiers]—How Many More??”
During the Bush presidency, Woolsey commonly provided Code Pink radicals with free passes to attend speeches and hearings which they could then disrupt.
In 2007 Woolsey was a guest speaker at the annual “Take Back America” conference organized by the Campaign for America’s Future.
On September 17, 2009, the House of Representatives voted by a 345-75 margin to defund the notoriously corrupt community organization ACORN. Woolsey was one of the 75 legislators—all Democrats—who voted against the measure, and thus in support of ACORN. For a list of the other Democrats who voted as Woolsey did, click here.
On January 27, 2010, Woolsey was one of 54 Members of Congress who signed a letter calling on President Barack Obama to use diplomatic pressure to end Israel’s blockade of Gaza—a blockade which had been imposed in order to prevent Hamas terrorists from importing weaponry from Iran and Syria.
Woolsey believes that:
- all women should have an unrestricted right to abortion-on-demand at any stage of pregnancy – subsidized by taxpayers, in cases of economic hardship;
- public and private employers alike should be legally required to implement affirmative-action hiring and promotion policies that give preference to African Americans and women, as compensation for historical injustices;
- the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is an excellent statute that can serve a strategic stepping stone toward the eventual implementation of a government-run, single-payer healthcare system;
- the principle of church-state separation is inviolable and should preclude permitting prayer in the public schools, or the posting of the Ten Commandments in public places;
- voucher programs designed to enable low-income parents to send their children to private schools rather than to failing public schools, constitute bad policy because they rob the public schools of vital resources;
- the death penalty is applied in a racially discriminatory manner, constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, and should be abolished;
- more guns in the hands of private citizens inevitably result in higher levels of crime, thus the availability of firearms should be restricted by whatever means are effective;
- wealthy people should be required to pay much higher tax rates than those who earn less;
- restrictions on immigration are basically racist because they tend to prevent Hispanics and other non-whites from entering the United States;
- social services should be available to all U.S. residents regardless of their immigration status;
- illegal aliens should be offered amnesty if they have been productive members of society;
- U.S. defense spending should be scaled back dramatically; and
- an ever-increasing reliance on “green energy” sources such as wind and solar should be put in place, along with the phasing out of fossil fuels, the imposition of carbon taxes, and the raising of vehicle CAFE standards.
For an overview of Woolsey’s voting record these key issues and others, click here.
Woolsey is a member of the National Organization for Women who received strong political support over the years from the Council for a Livable World and EMILY’s List. She also served, at various times, as an advisory committee member with the Progressive Majority, an advisory board member with the Progressive Democrats of America, and a board member/president with Americans for Democratic Action.
For additional information on Lynn Woolsey, click here.
Further Reading: “Lynn Woolsey” (Votesmart.org, Encyclopedia of Women and American Politics, Keywiki.org,); “Shouting Down the President” (by Ben Johnson, Front Page Magazine, 2-1-2006, re: disruption at 2006 SOTU); Lynn Woolsey’s Positions on Key Issues (OnTheIssues.org).