Congressman Melvin L. Watt

CONGRESSMAN MELVIN L. WATT ("Mel"), was born in Mecklenburg County , North Carolina on August 26, 1945 . He is a graduate of York Road High School in Charlotte . He was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1967 with a BS degree in Business Administration and was president of the business honors fraternity as a result of having the highest academic average in the Business School . In 1970 he received a JD degree from Yale University Law School and was a published member of the Yale Law Journal. He has been awarded honorary degrees from North Carolina A&T State University , Johnson C. Smith University and Bennett College.

Mel practiced law from 1970-1992 and has been a small business owner.

Mel was the campaign manager of Harvey Gantt's campaigns for City Council, for Mayor of Charlotte and for the United States Senate. Mel served one term in the North Carolina Senate (1985-86) where he was called "the conscience of the Senate." He did not seek a second term in the state Senate and announced that he would not consider running for elective office again until his children completed high school.

Mel is married to Eulada Paysour Watt, an educator. They have two sons, Brian and Jason, both of whom are graduates of Yale University and have earned graduate degrees.

Mel is a member of the Mt. Olive Presbyterian Church and a life member of the NAACP. He served as president of the Mecklenburg County Bar and has been a member of many professional, community and civic boards and organizations.

In 1992, Mel was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from North Carolina 's 12 th Congressional District and became one of only two African American members elected to Congress from North Carolina in the 20th century. The 12 th District is North Carolina 's most urban congressional district.

Mel is a member of the House Financial Services Committee where he serves on the Financial Institutions Subcommittee, the Domestic and International Monetary Policy Subcommittee and the Capital Markets, Insurance and Government Sponsored Enterprises Subcommittee. Mel is also on the House Judiciary Committee on which he is the Ranking Member on the Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law. In December of 2004, Mel was unanimously elected Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Mel enjoys tennis, running, reading and music. Since 1995 he has been the starting pitcher for the Democratic baseball team in the annual Congressional Baseball Game and was named most valuable player in 1995, 1996 and 2000.

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Minority Health Project| Department of Epidemiology
UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health
2104D McGavran-Greenberg, CB#7435 | Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7435
Phone 919-966-7436 | Fax 919-966-2089| E-mail

Last Updated: 06/12/05 by Cal and Vic