U.S. Rep Lynn Woolsey, who has served 10 terms in Congress while representing Novato as well as the rest of Marin County, announced her retirement Monday from her home in Petaluma.
Here is what she said to friends, supporters and the media:
“With you by my side, with your support allowing me to speak strong and fight hard, we have made a powerful difference.
“We have made important direct investments here at home – saving Two Rock Coast Guard Base from closure twice; securing the funding to make Hamilton Airfield the first successful BRAC closure in the nation; authorizing legislation to launch a school breakfast pilot program in Santa Rosa; and much more. Tomorrow, I will go to Skaggs Island for a ceremony marking the official transfer of this former Navy facility into the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge. And it was a bill we passed in Congress a few years ago that made the transfer – and the protection of these precious wetlands — possible.
“Even as I’ve focused on these local investments, I know that the people of Marin and Sonoma counties expected me to be engaged on national and international issues too. On that front, nothing has animated me more than my opposition to the wars our country has been fighting for nearly the last 10 years. They are a moral blight on the nation, and I have not been afraid to say so.
“Because of your support, I was the first member of Congress to call for our troops to be brought home, and not a day has gone by that I haven’t pressed this point. I was the first to force a vote on ending the war in Iraq, and I would not keep quiet even when the leaders of my party might have preferred that I did. But the thing is: I don’t work for them, I work for you.
“When we started this anti-war struggle, we didn’t have public opinion or political momentum on our side. But because we were true to our conscience … because we had the courage of our convictions … because we would not be silenced … the tide eventually turned. In just a few years time, President Bush’s military occupation of Iraq became deeply unpopular. And it’s true without question that our leadership helped hasten the end of major combat operations in Iraq.
We have to continue to speak up, and we will — because we still have 100,000 men and women in harm’s way in Afghanistan. I believe the same relentlessness, passion and tenacity on the part of the pro-peace community will eventually end that war as well.
Most of all, we must never give up. We must, without hesitation or apology, fight for what we know is right.
We haven’t won every battle over the years, but we have fought valiantly — always holding fast to our principles, never compromising our values.
As much as we’ve accomplished, of course there are mountains we haven’t climbed, challenges still to be met.
But I will turn 75 years old just before the next Election Day, and after two decades of service to this district, it will be time for me to move on.
And so, with enormous gratitude but not an ounce of regret, I am announcing that I will not run for re-election in 2012. I will retire at the end of my current term.
I leave it to you, the people of the Sixth District, to decide who should take up the mantle and continue this important work.
It’s been such a privilege to serve. From the bottom of my heart: thank you.”