Rep. Lynn Woolsey announces retirement

June 27, 2011 7:44:57 PM PDT
On Monday, North Bay Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Santa Rosa, confirmed that she will not be running for re-election next year. Woolsey has represented the Sixth Congressional District -- Marin and Sonoma counties -- for nearly two decades.

After 20 years in Congress, Woolsey is simply saying it is time to call it quits. She is not endorsing anyone to take her place, but said "I want to get off that airplane," referring to the weekly trips that she makes between Washington D.C. and her Bay Area district. And her district is one that is changing.

Speaking to a hundred or so supporters Woolsey said it's time.

"I will turn 75 years old just before the next Election Day and after two decades of service to this wonderful district, it will be time for me to move on," said Woolsey.

She thanked her constituents, her donors, her staff, and her family.

"So with enormous gratitude, but not one ounce of regret, I'm announcing that I will not run for re-election in 2012," said Woolsey.

The congresswoman best known for her anti-war stance was the first to call for the troops to come home. She made headlines when she invited anti-war protestor Cindy Sheehan to the 2006 State of the Union Speech and has been a staunch supporter of protecting wildlife refuges and environmentally sensitive areas in and outside of her district.

"As much as we've accomplished, of course there are mountains that we have not climbed," said Woolsey.

For the Democratic Party in the Sixth District, the most immediate challenge is what is happening to the district's boundaries. The state's Redistricting Commission has put out a preliminary map that redraws the district from Sausalito all the way to the Oregon border.

"They'd have one member? Imagine what the gas and oil exploration people want. They're just drooling to have that happen," said Woolsey.

Woolsey hates the idea, but Helen Grieco -- a long time Woolsey supporter, who was there Monday afternoon -- is an organizer for Common Cause, an organization that's been leading the charge redistricting.

"I've been to the redistricting hearings, I've heard all the complaints, I've heard what the citizens had to say and they wanted it changed this way," said Grieco.

Woolsey would give you an argument to that, but she's not going to take sides in picking a successor. She will not make an endorsement, but a couple of contenders where in her yard Monday afternoon such as Assm. Jarred Huffman and Marin County Supervisor Susan Adams -- both eyeing a run for Woolsey's seat.

Monday night, the Redistricting Commission is meeting in San Francisco at the Cowell Theater in Fort Mason. A second draft of the district boundaries is due out July 14th.

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