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Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey Announces Retirement

Says she won't seek reelection come November; Won't endorse any of the three candidates in the running.

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.

Three Democrats have expressed interest in her seat, including Assemblymember Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael), media critic Norman Solomon and Marin County Supervisor Susan Adams.

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.

John Maguire June 28, 2011 at 12:42 AM
Ms. Woolsey has served her community well. Her compassionate voice will be missed.
eric folly June 28, 2011 at 04:18 AM
Never did anything for the right. Higher taxes. Less liberty. Did she vote against Obama's war ? Or were there weapons of mass distruction to validate the bombing? Double standard...silly socialist.
Bookworm June 28, 2011 at 02:43 PM
It would be difficult, in 10 terms of service, to make all the right decisions, but with her good heart, Lynn has come close. It has been gratifying to be represented by a woman of such great compassion and dedication. Lynn's generosity of spirit puts to shame the mean-spirited attempts to make fun of her. She sets the standard for respectful dialogue. Many thanks.
Steven Norwin June 28, 2011 at 02:44 PM
Woolsey is a terrible congresswomen. I hope her reitirement is effective imediately, she's done enough damage in Marin.
Christine June 28, 2011 at 02:54 PM
I did not think she did a good job for the working tax payer. She encouraged people to ride the system and become 2nd & 3rd generation takers.
Joan Cooper June 28, 2011 at 03:23 PM
Thank you Lynn for always being a voice for women, children, and the peace that we all desire.
Tina McMillan June 28, 2011 at 04:50 PM
Lynn Woolsey's choice not to endorse a specific candidate is a welcome one. Much has changed in the past ten years. I think we need a different kind of candidate. One who is equally passionate but able to look at practical issues that must be addressed. Lynn represented her constituent base which was primarily progressive democrats. With the new boundaries it would be wonderful to have a broader range of representation with a focus on different issues. There are many moderate democrats and republicans looking for a voice in congress.
Tea bags for Liberty June 28, 2011 at 10:51 PM
Agree....David....doesn't the left use the word tea bag to describe conservative leaders?...i guess the academic utopia of the communist manifesto taught in your political science class is not working out so well and you have to take your anger out on some one posting their own thoughts. Lynn did vote with the republicans on Lybia. Illegal war by Obama. Her voting recorded available at www.opencongress.org
Ann Sonz Matranga June 29, 2011 at 05:31 AM
I'm grateful to Lynn Woolsey for representing me in the very best way. She and Barbara Lee are two of my heroes. Who is going to fill those shoes?
KRK June 29, 2011 at 07:08 AM
Lynn Woolsey served our district well, but 20 years is too long! I'm glad to see we are going to get some new blood. God help us if Susan Adams runs... she is so arrogant and self serving.
Lloyd June 29, 2011 at 02:52 PM
I agree Lynn's retirement gives us an opportunity to find a representative that is more in tune to today's realities. I believe someone who leaves behind the baggage of both the right and left and starts to concentrate on common sense approaches to the challenges we all face. As for her not endorsing Adams, Huffman, Arnold or any of those possibilities seeking her seat even she knows a losing cast of characters. Huffman has no creds within the legislature as evidenced by the recent gutting of his housing proposals. As someone else remarked that our supervisors Adams and Arnold are arrogant and self serving is perhaps the best to be said about them. Come on, there has to be a grass roots candidate not already in the special interests pocket. We pray for deliverance and term limits would be real helpful as well.....
Sierra Salin June 29, 2011 at 03:18 PM
And shame on all of us! Lynn was better than most and she did not go near far enough, and compromised too much. No Child left behind and Race to the Bottom, are disasters. Education, first, and foremost. Wars, bailouts, waste, etc, Nevermore! Homeland insecurity, etc. We need to overhaul the entire system, before nature which supports us, collapses. Money and profits mean little. Lets create a livable future. I believe Normon Solomon has thesmarts, integrity, heart and values that we need in polititians. No more endless war's, and corporate business and dollar profits are everything folks. Our consume everything and turn it into lifeless landfill mentality is wiping out living nature which supports ALL life. lWe need to change our system, and fast, or we are all toast. Nature has such little regard for the insane and self serving rules and laws of humans, and we are ignoring them at our own peril. A bunch of babbling monkeys are more intelligent and saner than we are. What are we giving back folks? Shame on us all! Now why don't we all just drive to the mall in our suv, and go shopping for some cheap disposable crap, made by slaves, from once living enviornments. Oops.
Tina McMillan June 29, 2011 at 04:40 PM
Normon Solomon is an author, media critic and antiwar activist. http://www.normansolomon.com/norman_solomon/2011/01/why-i-may-run-for-congress.html http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=10&author_id=167 Though Mr. Solomon may be passionate about the causes he represents we need a representative able to address a much broader array of causes. Arnold has not indicated that she would make a run for congress: Adams has, Huffman has and Solomon has. I'm still waiting for an opportunity to choose a representative that will also hold dear the collapse of the economy that has forced people out of their homes and jobs. Someone with the ability to bring California moderates together as a solid voting base. We need consensus if we are going to create lasting change in broad arenas at the state and federal levels.
Sierra Salin June 29, 2011 at 08:47 PM
We don't need any more of the same corporate Amerika $ are everything, and war bankrupting anything worthwhile. Fact is we are living in a corporate dictatorship, and there is little true freedom or liberty. Consensus only works with sane people who have any bits of morals or ethics, and are not just out for themselves or their own special interest group. Some things should never be compromised on, for any reason. Toxic wastes and nukes are prime examples. Our system is all about power and money, individual empire and profit, and we have forgotten, failed, and bailed, on our responsibilities to a liveable future. We are terrible and horrible stewards (we are in fact consumers) who have reduced all life to a dollar value, and nothing can exist in and of itself, unmolested. The environments which sustain all life need to be the basis for our laws, and not something to compromise through consenseless. There are basic rights which all living things should have. Right now, everything is about money........... how much is the Gulf worth Or Fukushima or an education or healthcare or health? How much is life worth?
G Man July 01, 2011 at 08:04 AM
"Ding dong, the witch is gone!" I'm happy to hear this news but am saddened at the realization that the seat will be filled with a younger and more radical person than her (is that possible?). The districts are fixed. Of all the districts in CA up in the last election only TWO changed hands! Things will never change unless we start changing some of these poloticians. We limit the president to two terms but we let congressmen collect dust on capitol hill. Woolsey didn't represent all the people of her district. Good riddens, Ms. Woolsey. Don't let the door hit you on the way out. Oh, enjoy that golden parachute I bought you. ;)
Jon H July 07, 2011 at 12:07 AM
I can't personally comment in regards to her service to constituents, but Rep. Woolsey has been a reliably progressive vote over the years. She is right on the vast majority of votes she took every, from the Patriot Act to the Iraq/Afghanistan/Libya wars. I felt that the most regrettable thing was to see her change her vote on the '08 bailout, voting against it before voting for it. Nonetheless, one of the most progressive members of Congress. I hope the next one for the area is as progressive.

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