Calendar  ⋅  Departments  ⋅  Documents  ⋅  Employment  ⋅  Maps  ⋅  News  ⋅  Online Services  ⋅  Projects

Vice Mayor Lou Waters

Term Expires: November 2018
Education: University of Minnesota School of Architecture

An anchor when CNN went on the air in 1980, Lou Waters remained one of the network’s primary anchors until September 2001, adding to a journalism career spanning nearly 40 years. At CNN, Waters co-anchored CNN Today, a daily program of news from 1-3 p.m., with Natalie Allen. Additionally, he co-anchored Early Prime and hosted special editions, including Coming of Age, a series on aging in American society. In 1994, Waters traveled to France and England to prepare a series of reports on the 50th anniversary of the allied invasion of Normandy. He interviewed allied survivors of the invasion, adding depth and perspective to CNN’s week-long coverage of D-Day. Waters was also active in CNN political coverage, having participated in each of the Republican and Democratic National conventions since 1980.

He anchored several hours of award-winning coverage of the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1986. In 1989, Waters was in the anchor chair when a powerful earthquake struck San Francisco. He covered the initial hours from CNN’s Atlanta headquarters before boarding the first jet allowed to land in the Bay Area after the quake. There, Waters continued reporting from the streets of San Francisco—a place he once called home.

The recipient of many awards, Waters received three Houston International Film Festival awards and a first-place news award at the New York Film Festival for his extensive political coverage in 1988. In addition, he won a Cable ACE award for Inside Politics ’88. Waters received three Golden Microphone awards as news director and anchor at KCST-TV, San Diego (now KNSD-TV). His coverage of a 1979 plane crash for CBS won an Emmy Award for spot news reporting.

Waters grew up in Minneapolis, attending the University of Minnesota School of Architecture. He discovered campus radio and for 13 years built a foundation for his TV career with radio jobs in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City and Buffalo. After a string of television reporting jobs on the West Coast in the early ’70s, Waters became a news director—first in San Diego, then in Tucson at KVOA and KOLD, where he was spotted first by CBS, then by ABC. He accepted CNN’s offer in February 1980.

Since returning to the Oro Valley community, Waters has volunteered his time on numerous local and national fronts, including:

  • A five-year member of the Citizens Volunteer Assistance Patrol for the Oro Valley Police Department
  • The Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance (formerly GOVAC)
  • Host for the Tucson Senior Olympic Festival
  • Member of Key Speakers Bureau focusing on issues surrounding aging in America
  • Participant in events nationwide on behalf of Make a Wish Foundation, Duke Children’s Hospital, New Hanover Medical Research of Wilmington, North Carolina, Lexington, Kentucky Children’s Charity’s, Boy Scouts and the Ara Parsegian Foundation
  • Involvement in the development of arts and culture as an essential element in conferring identity and a sense of belonging to the Oro Valley community

Currently, Waters is liaison to the Conceptual Design Review Board, Visit Tucson and CItizens Volunteer Assistance Patrol. He is a member of the Arizona Association for Economic Development and currently serves on the board of the Tucson Mexico Trade Coalition, as a columnist of Tucson Local Media and Oro Valley Voice and as an adviser to young journalists about the importance and seriousness of their work. He is a national and local public speaker on matters of media, consequences and rewards as our nation ages and about the impact of 24/7 television news.

In 2009, Waters published a biography, “Have I Got a Song For You, The Bobby Dale Story,” now available in paperback at