Diane Watson

Born:November 12, 1933 (age 86)

U.S. House of Representatives, 2001-2011
U.S. ambassador to Micronesia, 1999-2000
California State Senate, 1978-1998

Education:B.A., UCLA; M.A., California State University, Los Angeles; PhD., Claremont Graduate School

Diane Watson represented California's 33rd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2003 until 2011.

Watson was born in Los Angeles on November 12, 1933. She received her Bachelor of Arts in education from UCLA, an MA in school psychology from California State University, Los Angeles and a PhD in educational administration from the Claremont Graduate School. Committed to the Los Angeles public schools, Watson worked as an elementary teacher and school psychologist. In 1975, she became the first African American woman to serve on the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education, a position she held until 1978.

Watson served as a member of the California State Senate from 1978 until 1998. From 1981 until 1998, Watson chaired the State Senate Health and Human Services Committee. She also served on the State Senate Judiciary Committee and was an advocate for health care, consumer protection, women, and children, at a state and national level. In 1993, Watson authored the California Birth Defects Monitoring Program Act, which led to pioneering research into causes of birth defects. She also authored the Residential Care Facilities Act, which ensures that senior citizens receive quality care in nursing and assisted living homes. In 1997, she introduced legislation to toughen food health safety requirements for restaurants. She also played a key role in the enactment of legislation to promote breast cancer research.

In 1998, Watson was appointed Ambassador to Micronesia by President Clinton, and in 2003, became a member of the 108th U.S. Congress. Watson was reelected to Congress four times before retiring in 2011.

For information on Watson's policy subject areas, committee appointments and sponsored/co-sponsored legislation during her time in the U.S. House of Representatives, please visit her profile on https://www.congress.gov.