BioCongresswoman Maxine Waters is considered by many to be one of the most powerful women in American politics today. She has gained a reputation as a fearless and outspoken advocate for women, children, people of color and the poor.
Elected in November 2010 to her eleventh term in the House of Representatives with almost 80 percent of the vote in the 35th District of California, Congresswoman Waters represents a large part of South Central Los Angeles, the communities of Westchester and Playa Del Rey, and the diverse cities of Gardena, Hawthorne, Inglewood and Lawndale.
She continues to be a senior member of the House Committee on Financial Services, serving as the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises. She also serves on the Subcommittee on Insurance, Housing and Community Opportunity, and the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.
Congresswoman Waters also serves on the House Committee on the Judiciary, where she sits on the Intellectual Property, Competition, and the Internet Subcommittee, and the Immigration Policy and Enforcement Subcommittee.
An integral member of Congressional Democratic Leadership, Congresswoman Waters serves as a Chief Deputy Whip and as a member of the Steering & Policy Committee.
During 14 years in the California State Assembly, she rose to the powerful position of Democratic Caucus Chair. As a national Democratic Party leader, Congresswoman Waters has long been highly visible in Democratic Party politics and has served on the Democratic National Committee (DNC) since 1980. She was a key leader in five presidential campaigns- Sen. Edward Kennedy (1980), Rev. Jesse Jackson (1984 & 1988), and President Bill Clinton (1992 & 1996). In 2001, she was instrumental in the DNC’s creation of the National Development and Voting Rights Institute and the appointment of Mayor Maynard Jackson as its chair.
She is a co-founder of Black Women’s Forum, a nonprofit organization of over 1,200 African American women in the Los Angeles area. In the mid-80s, she also founded Project Build, working with young people in Los Angeles housing developments on job training and placement.
Maxine Waters was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the fifth of 13 children reared by a single mother. She began working at age 13 in factories and segregated restaurants. After moving to Los Angeles, she worked in garment factories and at the telephone company. She attended California State University at Los Angeles, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree. She began her career in public service as a teacher and a volunteer coordinator in the Head Start program.
She is married to Sidney Williams, the former U.S. Ambassador to the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. She is the mother of two adult children, Edward and Karen, and has two grandchildren.