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Ellen Tauscher

Assumed office 
June 26, 2009
President Barack Obama
Preceded by John Rood

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 10th district
In office
January 3, 1997 – June 26, 2009
Preceded by Bill Baker
Succeeded by John Garamendi

Born November 15, 1951 (1951-11-15) (age 58)
Newark, New Jersey
Spouse(s) Jim Cieslak (2009-present) William Tauscher (divorced)
Children Katherine Tauscher
Residence Alamo, California
Alma mater Seton Hall University (B.S.)
Occupation investment banker
Religion Roman Catholic

Ellen O'Kane Tauscher (born November 15, 1951) is an American politician and Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs. She was a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives, representing California's 10th congressional district from 1997 until her resignation in 2009.


Early life and career

Ellen Tauscher was born in Newark, New Jersey. Her parents were a secretary and a shop steward for the United Food and Commercial Workers Union.[1] The first member of her family to attend college, she graduated in 1974 from Seton Hall University, where she obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in early childhood education.

She then worked as an investment banker with Bache & Co. and, at age 25, became a member of the New York Stock Exchange. She also served as an officer of the American Stock Exchange from 1979 to 1983, after which she worked for Bear Stearns and a subsidiary of Drexel Burnham Lambert.[2]

In 1989, Tauscher moved to California and later founded the first national research service to help parents verify the background of childcare workers.[2] She also published The ChildCare Sourcebook and headed the Tauscher Foundation, which provided funds for elementary schools to buy computers and Internet access.[3]

Political career

Before running for the United States House of Representatives, Tauscher was active in Democratic circles as a fundraiser[1] and also chaired Dianne Feinstein's successful 1992 and 1994 Senate campaigns.[4]

In 1996, Tauscher ran against two-term Republican incumbent Bill Baker in California's 10th congressional district election. During the campaign, Tauscher emphasized family issues[4] and her support for business, the environment, and the military,[1] while charging that Baker was too conservative for the district, particularly given his opposition to abortion and gun control.[5] She narrowly defeated Baker, claiming victory by a margin of 1.45% of the vote.[6] The race was ranked as the fourth most expensive of that year's 435 House races.[4]

Tauscher was re-elected in 1998 and 2000 against vigorous Republican opposition. While the 10th district was once considered "solid Republican territory,"[5] most Bay Area Republicans tend to be more moderate than their counterparts in the rest of California and have been increasingly willing to support Democrats at the national level.

In 2000, Tauscher was made much safer when some of the more Republican-leaning parts of her district were cut out as part of state-wide redistricting. They were replaced with more Democratic territory near Sacramento and Berkeley. She has since been re-elected for four more terms with no substantive opposition, never dropping below 65 percent of the vote since 2002.

On March 18, 2009, Tauscher announced that she had accepted the position of Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security. She was confirmed by the United States Senate on June 25, 2009.[7] Notwithstanding her appointment, confirmation and acceptance, she served as Speaker Pro Tempore on June 26, 2009, when the House narrowly passed (219-212) a cap-and-trade global warming bill. [8] Tauscher resigned her seat on June 26, 2009, after voting was finished on the American Clean Energy & Security Act.[9] Her resignation necessitated a special election.[10]



During her most recent term in the House, Tauscher served as co-chair of the Iraqi Women's Caucus, Department of Energy Facilities Caucus, Army Corps Reform Caucus, Intelligent Transportation Systems Caucus, and Research and Development Caucus.

Political views

A leading centrist Democrat, Tauscher was the chairwoman of the New Democrat Coalition, a caucus of moderate Democrats in the House. She also served as vice-chairwoman of the Democratic Leadership Council from 2001 to 2005. Tauscher became a target of liberal activists after the Democrats took back control of the House of Representatives in 2006, but is strongly supported by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer.[1] She warned her Democratic colleagues that "getting the majority [in the House] and running over the left cliff is what our Republican opponents would dearly love."[11] Her politically moderate ideology has been dubbed by TIME Magazine as "Tauscherism."[5]

Tauscher has received a 11% lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union[12], and a 95% rating for her 2008 voting record from Americans for Democratic Action.[13] Based upon her voting record and statements, has described her as a "Libertarian-leaning Liberal."[14]

She supports universal health care and, in particular, covering uninsured children through the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).[15] She also supports scaling back the estate tax, tightening bankruptcy rules, and expanding free trade.[1]


Tauscher is strongly pro-choice, with a 100% positive rating from NARAL.[14] She voted against bans on late-term and partial-birth abortions.

She also supports federal funding of stem cell research, voting in favor of both Stem Cell Research Enhancement Acts.

Gun Rights

Tauscher is in favor of more extensive gun control. She has expressed her support for the Second Amendment, but has also said that "we should keep guns out of the hands of criminals and those with history of violence."[4] She has called for "common sense gun safety legislation that strikes a balance between Second Amendment protections and protections for the public."[4]

She supports arming commercial pilots, requiring background checks of legal gun owners, and banning Saturday night specials.[4] She has received an F rating from the National Rifle Association.[14]

Iraq war

In October 2002, Tauscher voted in favor of the Iraq Resolution, approving the use of military force in Iraq. However, she has since become a critic of the Iraq War, while continuing to vote for the War (see HR 1585[16]). In December 2005, Tauscher led a group of twenty-two other House Democrats in sending a letter to President George W. Bush urging him to withdraw U.S. troops, expressing the hope that the "Iraqi government takes increased responsibility" for its political and security needs.[17] She later voted to redeploy troops out of Iraq within 90 days[14] and even to impeach President Bush over the war to appease her constituents[18].

LGBT issues

Tauscher is a proponent of same-sex marriage, once saying, "Marriage is a civil right. When we withhold it from one segment of the population we are doing a disservice to the principles of fairness and equality upon which our country was founded."[19] In 2006, she voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment, which would have constitutionally defined marriage as being between a man and woman.[14]

She supports repealing the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy[19] and is opposed to banning gays from the Boy Scouts.[4] She has a 100% rating from the Human Rights Campaign, the largest gay rights advocacy group in the United States.[14]

On March 3, 2009 Tauscher introduced the Military Readiness Enhancement Act of 2009 (H.R. 1283) to the House of Representatives.

Personal life

Tauscher lives in Alamo. Prior to their divorce in 1999[4], she was married to Republican[5] businessman William Tauscher, former Chairman and CEO of Vanstar Corporation, current director of Safeway, Inc.[20], and founder of the Tauscher Group, which invests and assists in the management of enterprises in home products, transportation, security and real estate.[21] She has a daughter, Katherine (b. 1991).[3]

On the same day as her taking the office of Undersecretary she married retired airline pilot Jim Cieslak.[22]

Electoral history

United States House of Representatives elections, 1996[23]
Party Candidate Votes Percentage
Democratic Ellen Tauscher 137,726 48.7%
Republican Bill Baker (incumbent) 133,633 47.2%
Reform John Place 6,354 2.3%
Natural Law Valerie Janlois 3,047 1.0%
Libertarian Gregory Lyon 2,423 0.8%
Totals 283,183 100.0%
Voter turnout  %
Democratic gain from Republican
United States House of Representatives elections, 1998[24]
Party Candidate Votes Percentage
Democratic Ellen Tauscher (incumbent) 127,134 53.46%
Republican Charles Ball 103,299 43.44%
Natural Law Valerie Janlois 3,941 1.66%
Reform John Place 3,435 1.44%
Totals 237,809 100.0%
Voter turnout  %
Democratic hold
United States House of Representatives elections, 2000[25]
Party Candidate Votes Percentage
Democratic Ellen Tauscher (incumbent) 160,429 52.7%
Republican Claude B. Hutchison, Jr. 134,863 44.2%
Natural Law Valerie Janlois 9,527 3.1%
Totals 304,819 100.0%
Voter turnout  %
Democratic hold
United States House of Representatives elections, 2002[26]
Party Candidate Votes Percentage
Democratic Ellen Tauscher (incumbent) 123,481 75.6%
Libertarian Sonia E. Alonso Harden 39,858 24.4%
Totals 163,339 100.0%
Voter turnout  %
Democratic hold
United States House of Representatives elections, 2004[27]
Party Candidate Votes Percentage
Democratic Ellen Tauscher (incumbent) 182,750 65.8%
Republican Jeff Ketelson 95,349 34.2%
Totals 278,099 100.0%
Voter turnout  %
Democratic hold
United States House of Representatives elections, 2006[28]
Party Candidate Votes Percentage
Democratic Ellen Tauscher (incumbent) 130,859 66.5%
Republican Darcy Linn 66,069 33.5%
Republican Jeff Ketelson (write-in) 50 0.0%
Totals 196,978 100.0%
Voter turnout  %
Democratic hold
United States House of Representatives elections, 2008[29]
Party Candidate Votes Percentage
Democratic Ellen Tauscher (incumbent) 192,226 65.1%
Republican Nicholas Gerber 91,877 31.1%
Peace and Freedom Eugene Ruyle 11,062 3.8%
Totals 295,165 100.0%
Voter turnout  %
Democratic hold


  1. ^ a b c d e Eilperin, Juliet and Michael Grunwald (2007-02-21). "The Woman in the Middle". The Washington Post. 
  2. ^ a b "Ellen O. Tauscher Page". Contra Costa Demonstrator. November 7, 1996. 
  3. ^ a b "Full Biography for Ellen O. Tauscher". League of California Women Voters. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h "About Ellen Tauscher". The Washington Times. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Why the Center Can't Hold". TIME Magazine. 1997-11-24.,9171,987394-1,00.html. 
  6. ^ "CA District 10". Our Campaigns - CA District 10 Race - Nov 05, 1996. 3 June 2003. Our Campaigns. 23 July 2007. Retrieved from
  7. ^ Stannard, Matthew (June 25, 2009). "Rep. Tauscher new U.S. arms control chief". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved June 25, 2009. 
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ Dewan, Shalia and Anne E. Kornblut (2006-10-30). "In Key House Races, Democrats Run to the Right". The New York Times. 
  12. ^ American Conservative Union. 2007 Votes by State Delegation
  13. ^ Americans for Democratic Action. Voting Records
  14. ^ a b c d e f "Ellen Tauscher on the Issues". 
  15. ^ "Tauscher Policy: Healthcare". Ellen Tauscher for Congress. 
  16. ^ "HR-1585 Iraq War Funding" Retrieved from
  17. ^ "Langevin Joins Democrats, Signs Letter to Bush on Iraq War". U.S. House of Representatives. 2005-12-22. 
  18. ^ . Office of the Clerk. Final Vote Results for Roll Call 401 June 11, 2008
  19. ^ a b "Rep. Ellen Tauscher Applauds Calif. Supreme Court for Overturning Gay Marriage Ban". Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher. 2008-05-15. 
  20. ^ Safeway Inc. 2008 Proxy Statement
  21. ^ "William Y. Tauscher Profile". Forbes. 
  22. ^ Contra Costa Times website
  23. ^ 1996 election results
  24. ^ 1998 election results
  25. ^ 2000 election results
  26. ^ 2002 general election results
  27. ^ 2004 general election results
  28. ^ 2006 general election results
  29. ^ 2008 general election results

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
William P. Baker
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 10th congressional district

January 3, 1997 – June 26, 2009
Succeeded by
John Garamendi
Government offices
Preceded by
John Rood
Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security
June 26, 2009–present


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