Maxine Waters (born Maxine Moore Carr; August 15, 1938) is the U.S. Representative for California's 35th congressional district, and previously the 29th district, serving since 1991. She is a member of the Democratic Party. She is the most senior of the 12 black women currently serving in the United States Congress, and is a member and former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. Before becoming a member of Congress she served in the California Assembly, to which she was first elected in 1976. As an Assembly member Waters advocated for divestment from South Africa's apartheid regime. In Congress she was an outspoken opponent of the Iraq War. Waters was charged by the House's subcommittee on ethics with violations of the House's ethics rules in 2010.
The fifth out of thirteen children, Waters was born 1938 in Kinloch, Missouri, to Remus and Velma Lee Carr Moore. She graduated from Vashon High School in St. Louis, and moved with her family to Los Angeles, California, in 1961. She worked in a garment factory and as a telephone operator before being hired as an assistant teacher with the Head Start program at Watts in 1966. She later enrolled at Los Angeles State College (now California State University, Los Angeles), and graduated with a sociology degree in 1970. In 1973, she went to work as chief deputy to City Councilman David S. Cunningham, Jr.. Waters entered the California State Assembly in 1976. While in the assembly she worked for the divestment of state pension funds from any businesses active in South Africa, a country then operating under the policy of apartheid and helped pass legislation within the guidelines of the divestment campaign's Sullivan Principles. She ascended to the position of Democratic Caucus Chair for the Assembly.