The Honorable Lynn C. Woolsey
During her two decades in the House, Lynn C. Woolsey brought attention to the plight of impoverished women and children by sharing her own experiences as a mother on welfare. Woolsey reflected the anti-war sentiments of her northern California constituents taking a leading role in both the Progressive and the Out of Iraq caucuses and calling for an end to funding American military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.
U.S. Representative from California (January 3, 1993–January 3, 2013)
Elected in 1992—the “Year of the Woman”—Lynn C. Woolsey joined 23 other freshman women Representatives in the 103rd Congress (1993–1995). Woolsey used her experience as a member of the Petaluma city council in California to mount a successful congressional campaign and to build a two-decade career in the U.S. House. In her oral history, she reflects on her first Democratic primary—a crowded, competitive race where she distinguished herself by sharing her experiences as a single mother on welfare. As a Member of Congress, Woolsey continued to talk about her time on welfare, seeking to educate her colleagues and to bring a new perspective to the debate on government assistance for women and children.
During her 20 years in the House, Woolsey often called upon her activist roots—something she describes in her interview. As a leading member of the Progressive Caucus, for example, the California Representative promoted a more active role for the growing organization in the institution. A staunch opponent of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Woolsey provides background on the founding of the Out of Iraq Caucus and her persistent efforts to draw attention to the growing anti-war movement, including her many floor speeches on the topic. In her oral history, Woolsey also speaks about the bonds formed among women Members, the ways in which they mentored and encouraged newly-elected female Representatives, and her observations about the Democratic whip operation.
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