Our Honorary ChairsMember, U.S. House of Representatives, CA
Congresswoman Ellen O. Tauscher is currently serving her sixth term representing California’s 10th Congressional district, which includes San Francisco’s suburbs in Contra Costa, Alameda and Solano Counties. In Congress she is a leader on defense, homeland security, high-tech, transportation and veterans’ issues and is known as one of Congress’s leading experts on nuclear nonproliferation. Ellen is currently serving her second term as the Chairman of the House New Democrat Coalition, a sixty-member organization that ranks as the largest centrist caucus in the House of Representatives. The New Democrat Coalition is committed to enacting policies that maintain U.S. competitiveness, meet the challenges posed by globalization in the 21st century, and strengthen our national security. As the U.S. makes the transition into the globalized world the New Dems provide the needed leadership and policies that tap into our strengths and ensure that America maintains its prosperity and global leadership.
Before coming to Capitol Hill, Rep. Tauscher worked in the private sector for 20 years, 14 of which were on Wall Street. At age 25, she became one of the first women, and the youngest at the time, to hold a seat on the New York Stock Exchange. She later served as an officer of the American Stock Exchange. After moving to California in 1989, she founded the first national research service to help parents verify the background of childcare workers while she sought quality childcare for her own daughter. Subsequently, Congresswoman Tauscher published a book to help working parents make informed decisions about their own childcare needs.
As the senior Bay Area Member of Congress on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Rep. Tauscher is working to revitalize California’s infrastructure and reduce congestion. Over her ten years in Congress, Rep. Tauscher has delivered over $119 million in transportation dollars to her constituents. Of this, $36 million went to much-needed improvements to Highway 4. She has also secured funding for improvements to be made to the 80/680 interchange, an additional bore of the Caldecott tunnel, park-and-ride lots for the Tri-Delta Transit system, expanding transit in Contra Costa County, Livermore, and Solano County, and improvement projects along the 580 corridor.
Rep. Tauscher sits on the Aviation Subcommittee, where she played a pivotal role getting common-sense measures like background checks for airport employees included in the sweeping aviation security legislation that passed in the wake of the September 11 attacks. She also serves on the powerful Highways and Transit Subcommittee, which determines the nation’s transportation needs and authorizes federal funding for transportation and transit projects across the country.
Rep. Tauscher is an advocate for working families and businesses as well, playing a key role in many of the New Democrats’ signature programs. She coauthored a major prescription drug plan, and she has introduced the State Infrastructure Banks for Schools Act to provide innovative approaches to rebuild our nation’s aging public schools and libraries. Rep. Tauscher was invited by then First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton to participate in the White House Conference on Saving Social Security. And, in just her first term, she was appointed by her peers to co-chair the Democratic Caucus Task Force on Campaign Finance Reform.
For the 110th Congress, Rep. Tauscher’s peers nominated and elected her to serve as Regional Whip. In this capacity she is a link between Northern California’s Congressional Democrats and the House Democratic leadership. She has served on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and chaired the group’s Democratic Business Forum. She is also a past Finance Chair of the New Democrat Network.
In the 110th Congress, Rep. Tauscher was appointed Chairman of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee, becoming only the third woman in history to Chair an Armed Services Subcommittee. Rep. Tauscher is also the first California Democrat to be elevated to an Armed Services Subcommittee Chairmanship since 1992.
Rep. Tauscher is a perfect fit to lead the committee, being the only member of Congress to represent two national defense laboratories – Lawrence Livermore and Sandia California. The district also includes Camp Parks Army Reserve facility as well as Travis Air Force Base home of the 60th Air Mobility Wing. Congresswoman Tauscher has been an advocate for the continued production and use of the C-17 aircraft, consistently urging that the Defense Budget include the vital airlift capabilities provided by the C-17’s housed at Travis.
During the last decade as a member of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Tauscher has taken an active role in foreign policy and national security. She has traveled to the Middle East five times since the start of the Iraq war, including three trips to Iraq, and has visited troops and foreign leaders in Afghanistan and other Central Asian countries while serving in Congress.
She has also served on congressional delegations to Bosnia, Colombia, Germany, Korea, Russia, Yugoslavia and NATO headquarters in Brussels. Rep. Tauscher was recently appointed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi to serve as the Vice Chair for the Future Security and Defense Capabilities Subcommittee of the Defense and Security Committee of NATO’s Parliamentary Assembly.
Much of Rep. Tauscher’s work in Congress focuses on working to stop the spread of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. She is the leader in the House of Representatives on the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation’s Nuclear Threat Reduction Campaign which is working to reduce the threats associated with nuclear and biological weapons, and she has been a prominent opponent of development of new nuclear weapons and nuclear “bunker busters.”
Rep. Tauscher is regularly a member of the American delegation to the annual Wehrkunde Conference on security policy in Munich. She has addressed the Fletcher Conference on National Security, the Army Two-Star Conference for Commanders and has been a participant in the Army War College’s Strategic Crisis Exercise.
Rep. Tauscher was the first person in her family to attend college and earned a degree in Early Childhood Education from Seton Hall University. Born in Newark, N.J., she lives in Alamo, Calif., with her daughter, Katherine.