By Frank Taylor
Congresswoman Maxine Waters has been honorably and intelligently serving Southern California residents for nearly 40 years, and in the last year alone, representing the 43rd Congressional District, has crafted legislation that invests in our local and nation’s infrastructure, creates jobs, expands research and care for debilitating diseases, while working tirelessly, as she has always done, to ensure that every consumer is treated fairly by banks and lending institutions.
With the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States, despite being outvoted dramatically in the State of California and losing the nationwide majority vote, Waters was among the first federal legislators to speak out against the antics of our president and to call for his impeachment, based, for the most part, on the president’s tweets and comments, the irrefutable untruths he has espoused, his apparent failure to protect all Americans from a broad range of attacks by the Russians, as well as his unprincipled, divisive and shamefully racist comments he has delivered without consequence.
“Trump is a bully, an egotistical maniac, and a liar,” Waters said in an exclusive interview with Inglewood Today, “someone who does not need to be president of the United States.”
Waters’ long record of community leadership, civic duty and responsibility, and legislative achievement is punctuated by one success after another. Prior to her election to the U.S. Congress in 1991, Waters served for 14 years as a member of the California State Assembly where her leadership emerged as the first woman to serve as the Democratic Caucus Chair and one who advanced some of the boldest legislation in the California legislature.
Among a long list of legislative accomplishments, Waters Anti-apartheid measure divested $12 billion in state pensions funds that eventually led to its dismantling and chaired the committee in Los Angeles to welcome Nelson Mandela to California. She later led the delegation to South Africa to witness his presidential inauguration.
Her achievements in the area of child abuse prevention, criminal justice reform, affirmative action, and protection for students against for-profit colleges, distinguished Waters from her colleagues. As an early advocate for women, she forced insurance companies to pay for women undergoing mastectomies; for the disabled, forced insurance companies to pay for prosthetic devices; and, as a staunch advocate for the labor movement introduced the nation’s first plant closure law.
One measure of elected officials effectiveness is the ability to listen to their constituents, identify what is needed in the many communities they serve and deliver programs that address those needs. Waters’ initiatives include the launch of Project Build, which addressed the gang issue in South Los Angeles and the Black Women’s Forum, which provides a broad range of enlightenment, resources and action among a wide range of issues that affect our community from Education and Healthcare to Youth & Children and Cultural Arts, to name a few.
Project Build and the Black Women’s Forum are programs that have endured the test of time and are still doing effective work throughout the Los Angeles Community and beyond.
Before the nation recognized police brutality and the use of excessive force as a nationwide problem, Congresswoman Waters had been at the forefront of that battle. For decades, the examples of her direct support of local victims is legendary and, in recent years, her “Standing in the Gap” event garnered national news coverage because it honored several mothers whose children were killed by police officers, and whose cases received national exposure. She assembled over 1,000 women in Los Angeles to honor the mothers of some of the most egregious victims of police violence cases in recent memory.
“It was an honor for me to introduce Trayvon Martin’s, Michael Brown’s, Ezell Ford’s, Eric Garner’s and Tamir Rice’s mothers to the Los Angeles community,” Waters said. “Giving them support and encouragement from elected officials, community leaders, residents and local mothers who were also seeking justice and demanding answers for the lives lost to senseless violence, was heartening and uplifting.”
While a few of Congresswoman Waters’ opponents are critical of her for their own political advancement, they fail to comment on the many significant accomplishments that continue as a testament to the leadership she continues to provide and the work she continues to perform, behind the scenes, on behalf of her 43rd District constituents.
Waters secured funding for the development and creation of the California Science Center (CSC) in Exposition Park and worked closely with current leadership to showcase the Space Shuttle Orbiter Endeavor after traversing the streets of Inglewood and Los Angeles. The CSC is now a world-class museum bringing millions of visitors to the region each year.
Congresswoman Waters secured millions to help fund the recently-opened Inglewood Senior Center and millions more to fund the retrofitting of windows, doors, siding and insulation on their homes to help mitigate the noise created by aircraft landing at Los Angeles International Airport.
Similarly, Congresswoman Waters has been a vocal advocate and legislative trendsetter for veterans, the unemployed and the homeless members of our community. From housing, employment and counseling services for veterans, to the preservation of Section 8 housing facilities for Los Angeles residents, her commitment to these members of our community deserves recognition.
Reclaiming My Time
Congresswoman Waters has long been known for her direct and incisive public comments that frequently express the voice of the voiceless and the intense feelings and emotions of those who are frequently left behind. She has emerged as an icon among Millennials, who now affectionately refer to her as “Auntie Maxine,” and this moniker comes in large part following her riveting questioning, as the ranking member of the House Committee on Financial Services, of Department of Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, where she popularized the statement “reclaiming my time,” following his non-responsive answers to her direct questions.
As the ranking member of the Financial Services Committee, she oversees the securities, insurance, banking and housing industries as well as the Federal Reserve, the U. S. Treasury and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Their subcommittees oversee capital markets and government sponsored enterprises, community opportunities for insurance and housing and oversight and investigation.
“I am proud to be known for fighting for legislation that promotes aid to the poor and minority neighborhoods in my district and in American cities,” Waters said. “I also do not have any regrets for being the de facto leader of the charge to resist Trump.”
President Trump was soundly defeated in California and he lost the popular vote nationwide. His style of leadership is vastly different from the reserved, dignified, intelligent, honest and all-encompassing leadership Americans have learned to expect from a president, despite one’s individual political bias. The record-breaking turnover he has experienced at the top level of his administration and his most recent-abrupt firing of Andrew McCabe, Deputy Director of the FBI, hours before his scheduled retirement following 21 years of federal civil service, has already set off a firestorm of criticism about his style, leadership and competence.
Congresswoman Waters has become a leading advocate for Trump’s impeachment, justified by his obstruction of justice in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into interference by Russia in the 2016 U.S. Elections; his delay in enforcing sanctions on Russia; the federal indictments of and continuing revelations about many of his business associates, members of his family, and campaign operatives who have questionable connections, financial dealings and business ties to Russia; his alienation of our international allies and bullying tactics with North Korea; his attacks on the media and the 1st Amendment of the Constitution; his name-calling and attacks on members of congress; his blatant disrespect of and disregard for women, people of color, and the poor; and all of the disgraceful, untruthful and disturbing actions that continue to prove that he has no respect for our country’s most sacred values and traditions.
President Trump has questioned Congresswoman Waters’ IQ. She has ignored his remarks but characterizes him “as a dangerous, unprincipled, divisive and shameful racist.”
Symbols of Congresswoman Waters’ work appear throughout the 43rd Congressional District, including the Maxine Waters Employment Preparation Center in Los Angeles, the Congresswoman Maxine Waters Garden in Westchester, and the Maxine Waters Community Room at the Inglewood Senior Center, to name a few. Her awards and certificates of recognition, over the past year alone, as well as her radio and television appearances, as one of the most sought-after voices in the U.S. Congress, distinguish her as one of the most enduring, powerful and effective members among her peers.
In reviewing Congresswoman Waters’ rigorous travel and meeting schedule, travelling coast to coast regularly to meet the diverse demands of her constituents in the 43rd district, and one who has selflessly dedicated her life to the service of others, one wonders how much longer she intends to keep going and if she has any plans to retire.
“This is my life.” Waters explained. “In careers like mine, you invest your time in your work and you see yourself as continuing if you are in good health and have the energy and a strong desire to make life better for others,” she added. “We must reclaim our government, we must reclaim our U. S. Congress, and we must reclaim our country.” Waters concluded. “There is nothing better for me to do with my life.”
You may view the legislation Congresswoman Waters has advanced, more detail about her many accomplishments, awards and recognition and stay connected with her online at: waters.house.gov, facebook.com/MaxineWaters, and on twitter @RepMaxineWaters.