Congresswoman Diane E. Watson, born in Los Angeles, is a lifetime resident of California’s 33rd Congressional District. Re-elected four times, but retired after the end of the 111th Congress, in 2011.
In 1975, Congresswoman Watson became the first African-American woman to be elected to the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education. Her legacy there includes efforts to expand school integration and toughen academic standards.
The year 1978 marked her election to the California State Senate where she was chosen to chair, from 1981 to 1998, the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. She also served on the Senate Judiciary Committee. During her tenure in the California State Senate, Congresswoman Watson became a statewide and national advocate for health care, consumer protection, women, and children. In 1993, she authored the California Birth Defects Monitoring Program Act, which led to pioneering research into the causes of birth defects, and the Residential Care Facilities Act, to ensure that senior citizens receive quality care in nursing and assisted living homes.
In 1999, President William Jefferson Clinton appointed Congresswoman Watson to serve as the United States Ambassador to the Federated States of Micronesia. Watson served in this capacity until 2001 when she returned to California to run for Congress in a special election held on June 5, 2001, after the death of Congressman Julian Dixon. She was reelected on November 5, 2002 to a full two-year term and has served in each succeeding Congress.