Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey, who has represented Marin and Sonoma counties in Washington for the past 19 years, announced Monday that she would not be seeking re-election after her term expires this year.
At an event at her Petaluma home, Woolsey thanked family, friends and allies for support during her 10 terms in the U.S. Congress.
Check out the video on the right
“With enormous gratitude and not an ounce of regret, I’m announcing that I will not run for election in 2012,” said Woolsey, who will turn 75 this November. “So I leave it to you, you brilliant, smart constituents to decide for the Sixth District who should take the mantle and continue this important work.”
Standing at Woolsey’s side Monday was her close friend and colleague Rep. Barbara Lee, who together protested U.S. involvement in Iraq and formed the Out of Iraq Congressional Caucus in 2005.
“Our leadership helped hasten the end of a major combat operation in Iraq,” Woolsey said Monday to thunderous applause. “But we still have 100,000 troops in Afghanistan, 50,000 in Iraq and the risk of being involved in perpetual war.”
She also recalled her accomplishments in the region, including saving funding for Hamilton Air Field, helping open UCSF's Center for Excellence in Women's Health, a leader in breast cancer treatment, and creating a free breakfast program for school children.
On Tuesday, Skaggs Island will be transfered to Fish and Wildlife Service to be included in the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge, which Woolsey helped accomplish via an amendment she authored.
Huffman on Monday declined to comment on his plans for Woolsey’s office, only saying that he would make a formal announcement soon.
Instead, Huffman praised Woolsey’s track record and her ability to listen to constituents and represent them in Washington, DC.
“She’s a member of Congress who was genuinely connected to her district,” Huffman said. “We’d walk into a diner and people would know her or ranchers in West Marin—who were not her typical supporters—would come and greet her…That was part of the secret of her success.”
Asked about how she’d spent her time after retirement, Woolsey said that she was looking forward to spending time with her family, that includes four children and five grandchildren. Woolsey, who was a Petaluma City Councilwoman from 1985 to 1992, said she didn’t plan to get involved in Petaluma politics again, but always followed what was going on.
“Whatever I do, I will be doing useful things,” she said.