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Ellen Tauscher ( 1951 - )  Category ( Politicians ) [suggest a correction]

Ellen TauxcherBy accepting the position of Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security in late June, Ellen Tauscher sailed away from a safe harbor.

As a Democratic member of the House of Representatives from California's 10th Congressional District, Tauscher had become as entrenched as it gets in today's volatile political climate. After initially winning election over two-term Republican incumbent Bill Baker by a nail-biting 1.45 percent of the vote in 1996 (the fourth most expensive house campaign that year), Tauscher has gradually increased her mandate and her victory margins, topping 65 percent every other November since 2002.

Nor did it hurt when redistricting snipped off some of the more Republican areas in her domain. At the time of her departure, Tauscher was sitting on the House Armed Services and Transportation and Infrastructure Committees, serving as chair of the Subcommittee on Strategic Forces. She was considered a centrist Democrat with views very much in line with those of President Obama – especially Obama’s emphasis on nuclear non-proliferation..

"In my seven years in Congress," Tauscher said, "I have worked hard to make sure that families can get to work and travel safely on our roads, bridges, airports and waterways. I also have worked on national security issues, including working closely with officials of the Livermore and Sandia National laboratories.

"Keeping nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists, making sure other countries do not obtain them and, one day, I hope, ridding the world of these terrible weapons has become my passion and ... my life's work."

Tauscher had a varied background leading up to her new job (pending confirmation), which was offered to her by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Born November 15, 1951 in Newark, NJ, she grew up in Essex County, N.J. -- the daughter of a secretary and a union shop steward -- and graduated from Seton Hall University. Later, she worked as an investment banker with Bache & Company and became a member of the New York Stock Exchange at 25.

From 1979 to 1983, Tauscher was an officer of the American Stock Exchanger, moving from there to positions with Bear Stearns and Drexel Burnham Lambert.

In 1989, she moved to California, where she married millionaire businessman William Y. Tauscher. They were divorced in 1999, and the marriage produced one child, Katherine (born in 1991).

As a Californian and a mother, Tauscher began moving from commerce to social issues. Among other family-related activities, she founded a research service to help parents verify the background of childcare workers and created a foundation to help elementary schools buy computers.

Those family and education issues carried over into her race against Baker, whom she claimed was too conservative for the 10th District (the East Bay area of San Francisco and part of Sacramento).The deep pockets of her and her husband didn't hurt, either.

Tauscher  voted in 2002 to support the resolution approving the use of military force in Iraq, but – like her patron, Hillary Clinton – she has done a 180 turn since. Three years after that resolution passed,  she joined 22 other house Democrats in sending a letter to President Bush urging withdrawal.

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