Congresswoman Diane Watson
Congresswoman Watson Says Goodbye
Friends and colleagues gathered to support Watsonâ€™s announcement for retirement.
By Brian W. Carter, Staff Writer
School board member, Senator, Congresswoman and ambassadorâ€¦these are just some of the many accomplishments Diane E. Watson as acquired over almost four decades.
Watsonâ€™s commitment to serving on the school board speaks well for her tenacity and endurance. These strengths of character tripled with motivation led her to the Senate seat where she fought to make changes for our community. As a Congresswoman, she worked to better U.S. Foreign policy, government reform and represent local interest. Watson stated last week in a Sentinel exclusive that she would retire at the end of the year.
On February 11 at a press conference held in the Wilshire District, her own district, Watson publicly confirmed her retirement. â€œIâ€™d like to announce I will retire at the end of this term,â€ is what Watson stated to a crowded room of public officials, colleagues, supporters, constituents and press. Some of those present included Rev. Cecil â€œChipâ€ Murray, Dep. Chief Earl Paysinger, Chief Millage Peaks, Sen. Curren Price, Comm. John Mack, Judy Pace, Gwen Moore and others.
Many of these present only had warm and genuine comments to make about the departing Congresswoman. Some at the press conference displayed fond memories of the Congresswoman in their remarks:
Chief Millage Peaks (L.A. City Fire Dept): â€œSheâ€™s earn the time to retire and rest; she has paid her dues. We are all going to stand on her shoulders and keep pushing.â€
Deputy Chief Earl Paysinger (L.A.P.D): â€œI donâ€™t think that this area has known another policy maker that loves the community as she loves us.â€ All you have to do is look in the room and see all the people who have surrounded her. I canâ€™t express how much we love her and how much weâ€™ll miss her.â€
Charisse Bremond (Brotherhood Crusade): â€œI think her record speaks for itself; we are honored that she has been able to serve us in so many capacities.â€
Celes King (King Bail Bonds): â€œMost people donâ€™t realize the tremendous amount of work that Diane has done over the years. She has been a real stalwart in terms of standing up, not only for African Americans but for people of every stripe, especially poor people, the disenfranchised and the marginalized.â€
Gwen Moore (Former Assembly member): â€œShe was the first African American woman in the Senate and then went to Congress. When she ran for the school board, I ran for the community college board; and when she ran for the Senate, I ran for the Assembly and ever since weâ€™ve been a team.â€
Senator Curren Price (State Senate): â€œHer leadership will be sorely missed here locally and in Washington D.C.â€
John Mack (L.A. Police Commissioner): â€œThis is a bittersweet day. Diane Watson is another one of our great, great leaders and public servants. She gave the word public service a good name. She came from an era that really made a difference: not about self, and not about trying to promote a personal agenda, but really to promote the peopleâ€™s agenda.â€
President Barack Obama issued this statement: â€œDiane Watson has spent her life fighting for families in Los Angeles, especially those who too often didnâ€™t have a voice. Diane blazed a historic trail from the L.A. public schools to United States Congress where she continued to work to improve to improve health care, education and opportunities for countless Americans. While we will miss her distinguished voice in Congress, Michelle and I extend our thanks to Diane for her service and our best wishes to her and her family for the future.â€
Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas issued the following statement:
â€œI have been very fortunate over the years to work with the honorable Diane E. Watson, whom I consider a mentor, colleague and friend. She has had a long distinguished career in public service.â€
Thomas went on to speak highly about her character and accomplishments during her office. He stated no one was â€œmore deservingâ€ of retirement than Watson. His last comment was, â€œI hope that her successor will bring the same dedication to the 33rd congressional district.â€
Speaker Karen Bass was not present at the press conference but issued the following statement:
â€œCongresswoman Watsonâ€™s leadership on behalf of the people of her district, the State of California, and the entire nation continues to inspire the rest of us in public service.â€
Bass formerly announced her run for the 33rd District seat yesterday. Watson hesitated on endorsing any applicants at her press conference but later endorsed her as a candidate the seat, â€œI want to publicly state to you the California press, that Iâ€™m honored to endorse the honorable Karen Bass for the 33rd Congressional seat.â€
Watson has stated that she is looking forward to spending time with her mother who is 100 years old. â€œI havenâ€™t really had a chance to spend quality time with my mom,â€ said Watson, â€œI welcome time to spend with her.â€