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April 14, 2024

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Rep. Melvin Watt

POSTED: September 06, 2008, 12:01 pm

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Hon. Melvin L. Watt
North Carolina, 12th District
U. S. House of Representatives
2236 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Ph: 202-225-1510
Fx: 202-225-1512

1230 W. Morehead St.
Suite 306
Charlotte, NC
Ph: 704-344-9950
Fx: 704-344-9971

301 S. Greene St.
Suite 210
Greensboro, NC
Ph: 336-275-9950
Fx: 336-379-9951

Chief of Staff

Danielle Owen

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 the 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, Bennett College and Fisk University.

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Mel practiced law from 1970-1992, specializing in minority business and economic development law in a general practice law firm best known for its civil rights reputation. He has been an owner of several small businesses.

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 12th Congressional District and became one of only two African American members elected to Congress from North Carolina in the 20th century.

Mel is a member of the House Financial Services Committee, on which he is the Chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee and serves on the Financial Institutions Subcommittee. Mel is also on the House Judiciary Committee, on which he serves on the Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property, the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and the Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law. Mel was unanimously elected and served as the Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus (2005-2006).

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.

Source: U.S. House of Representatives

The 12th Congressional District has been the subject of numerous court battles and the focus of four cases in the United States Supreme Court. The district snakes down I-85 and picks up Black voters in and near Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Lexington, Salisbury and High Point. The district is almost evenly divided between Black and white voters. The poverty rate in the 12th district is 16 percent and the median income is $35,775.

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