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Tauscher declares victory over cancer

U.S. Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security Ellen Tauscher (Photo by Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group

U.S. Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security Ellen Tauscher

I had breakfast with U.S. Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security Ellen Tauscher earlier this week and the former East Bay congresswoman shared the compelling and inspiring story of her remarkable triumph over esophageal cancer.

Read the full story here.

I didn’t have space in the piece but I shared with Ellen that morning about how her experience had already helped me in a very personal way.

Last March, the Washington Post wrote a lovely story about her recovery and as I read through the text, I keyed in on Ellen’s description of the early symptoms: Trouble swallowing bulky foods, a sensation of something blocking her esophagus.

My husband had been experiencing the very same symptoms for months. He had recently suffered a painful episode while eating a salad at a restaurant.

I showed him the news story and he made an appointment.

The initial examination revealed a potential problem and his doctor scheduled an endoscopy. Fortunately, the scope found a highly treatable inflammation and not cancer.

But for all we knew at the time, the symptoms could have been associated with a far more serious health problem. And early detection is a good thing when it comes to the successful treatment of cancer.

So, take Ellen’s advice: Even if you think all you need is another roll of Tums, go see your doctor.  Do it for the people who love you.

Posted on Friday, July 29th, 2011
Under: Congress, Congressional District 10, Ellen Tauscher, national security | 2 Comments »

Garamendi headed to Netroots Nation



Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, who has become very vocal in recent weeks about what he views as an unsustainable and undesirable U.S. military presence in Afghanistan and Iraq, will be a panelist on Friday at one of the biggest progressive gatherings in the nation.

Garamendi is a panelist at Netroots Nation being held in Minneapolis eduring the next few days. Many of the movers and shakers behind the event helped President Barack Obama seize the grassroots power of the Internet during his successful presidential campaign.

The congressman is a member of the House Armed Services Committee and he recently returned from a trip to Afghanistan and Pakistan, where he was treated to an insider’s tour of U.S. special operations units.

Garamendi has repeatedly said the the U.S. must move away from a military anti-terrorism strategy and and turn to its highly trained special operations teams.

That’s a message likely to resonate at Netroots Nation.

Posted on Thursday, June 16th, 2011
Under: Congressional District 10 | 7 Comments »

Garamendi appears on Colbert show

No one can say Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, lacks hutzpah: He appeared on superstar comedian Stephen Colbert’s show last night. Watch it here.

Colbert introduced Garamendi as the man with the “popcorn-flavored jelly beans and a name rejected as a Microsoft word font,” referring in the first example to the Jelly Belly Factory located in the 10th District.

Colbert repeatedly and mercilessly poked fun at the fact that Garamendi doesn’t actually live in the 10th District.

Colbert even proposed marriage.

“You aren’t my type,” Garamendi deadpanned. (The congressman has many attributes but funny guy isn’t one of them.)

And when Colbert asked the congressman for his “pass” to see photos of the dead Osama bin Laden, Garamendi politely declined.

By and large, Garamendi didn’t embarrass himself, which is a major accomplishment when faced with Colbert’s wildly unpredictable and over-the-top comedy.

Posted on Thursday, June 9th, 2011
Under: Congressional District 10 | 6 Comments »

Garamendi returns from Afghanistan

Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove

Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove

East Bay Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, has returned from a three-day trip to Afghanistan even more convinced that the U.S. should swiftly withdraw its military troops.

Posted on Tuesday, May 31st, 2011
Under: Congressional District 10, John Garamendi | 6 Comments »

McNerney returns to science committee



In yet another fall-out after the Democrats’ loss of majority status in the House of Representatives, Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, will lose his seat on the Energy and Commerce Committee.

He will return to the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, his first assignment after he was initially elected in 2006. McNerney will remain on the Veterans Affairs Committee, his signature policy area. He had served on Energy and Commerce just one term.

“The congressman enjoyed his time on the Energy and Commerce Committee, but he is very excited about going back to the Science, Space and Technology Committee,” said spokeswoman Sarah Hersh.

A PHd mathematician who designed wind turbines, McNerney has a keen interest in green technology and science.

McNerney’s shift is the result of the GOP takeover of the House of Representatives. Not only does the majority party hold more seats on committees but the GOP leaders also cut the overall size of the committees.

Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, lost his seat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, leaving the Bay Area with no direct representation on the committee.  And Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez, will leave the House Natural Resources Committee after more than 35 years on the panel.

Posted on Thursday, January 20th, 2011
Under: Congress, Congressional District 10, congressional district 11 | 4 Comments »

East Bay reps host senior aid workshops

The boys are back in town.

And I’m betting the three East Bay congressional representatives don’t mind being called “boys.”

Despite a quick trip to Washington, D.C., for a Tuesday emergency vote on a state aid bill, reps. George Miller, John Garamendi and Jerry McNerney — all voted yes on the state aid legislation — have announced series of public events in their home districts during Congress’ annual August recess:


Miller, D-Martinez, will host a 75th birthday party for Social Security from 10:30-11:30 a.m. at the Richmond Annex Senior Center, 5801 Huntington Ave., Richmond. Speakers include representatives of AARP, West County Senior Coalition, Richmond Commission on Aging and others.

Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, will host a senior resources fair from 9 a.m.-noon at the Nick Rodriguez Community Center, 213 F Street in Antioch. The congressman will also cut a birthday cake for Social Security’s 75th anniversary. Booths with staff from federal, state and county service offices will offer information about medical care, nutrition and health screenings.


McNerney, D-Pleasanton, will host a senior assistance workshop from 10 am. to noon at the Brentwood Senior Activity Center, 193 Griffith Lane, Brentwood. On hand will be representatives from the centers for Medicare and Medicaid, Social Security and Contra Costa County Aging and Adult Services.


McNerney, D-Pleasanton, will host a grants workshop from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., San Ramon Community Center, 12501 Alcosta Blvd., San Ramon. Government, education and nonprofits are encouraged to attend and learn how to apply for federal and foundation grants. Speakers include representatives from the Department of Education and Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Posted on Wednesday, August 11th, 2010
Under: Congress, Congressional District 10, congressional district 11 | 1 Comment »

Garamendi will host tele-town hall



Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, will invite Livermore residents tonight to join him in a tele-town hall. (Others may participate by calling the number listed in the news release below.)

It’s the first in a series of up to 10 planned tele-townhalls in the 10th Congressional District, his office says.

Tele-townhalls allow constituents to participate in a telephone version of a meeting with a member of Congress.

At 5:30 p.m., a vendor hired by Garamendi’s office will send automated calls to 10,000 Livermore households. Residents answering the call may opt to stay on the line and listen to the event. The congressman will also answer callers’ questions.

Critics say the tele-town hall format permits elected officials to avoid angry constituents or dodge questions they don’t want to answer. Gongressional staff usually screen the questioners.

But advocates say it provides an opportunity for thousands of voters to listen directly to their representatives without leaving their homes. A typical town hall meeting might draw a few dozen people, although public appearances of members of Congress have been used, as of late, as a platform for vocal protesters.

For all the details about Garamendi’s tele-town hall, read his press release below.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, July 19th, 2010
Under: Congressional District 10 | 4 Comments »

CD10: AIP nominee passes away

Jerry Denham

Jerry Denham

Jerome “Jerry” Denham, the colorful face of the East Bay American Independent Party and its two-time candidate for the 10th Congressional District, has died. He was 74. (Watch the Contra Costa Times Web site for his obituary on Sunday.)

Denham passed away unexpectedly several days before the June 8 primary election, where he was unopposed in his second bid for his party’s nomination. He also ran in the 2009 special election to replace former Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher, who left for a State Department post.

The American Independent Party on Thursday night selected Vincent May, an El Cerrito biofuels consultant, as the party’s new nominee. May expects to finalize all the necessary paperwork at the election office this afternoon. (May was seriously considering running for governor. You can visit his Web site at He says he will revamp this site when he launches his congressional campaign.)

May will run on Nov. 2 against Democratic incumbent John Garamendi, of Walnut Grove, and GOP nominee, retired peace officer and farmer Gary Clift, of Vacaville.

Denham was a unique political figure in the East Bay, where he often appeared at local events wearing red, white and blue and handing out copies of the U.S. Constitution.

During the 2009 special election, the dapper Walnut Creek insurance salesman and financial planner campaigned with the vigor and enthusiasm of a much younger candidate.

He said at the time that he never intended to run for Congress and was grooming others to take his place. Denham founded the Freedom Coalition, an educational organization that taught people about the U.S. Constitution.

But his protégés weren’t ready, so he put his own name on the ballot.

He was under no illusion that he would win. Only 2.3 percent of the district’s registered voters are members of his party.

Like many minority party candidates, Denham saw his candidacy as an opportunity to publicize his party’s platform.

And he was always good for a feisty quote.

“I look forward to the day when some real estate agent will pound a huge ‘For Sale’ sign in front of the Internal Revenue Services as well as many other buildings in the District of Criminals,” he said during the 2009 campaign.

A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. on June 26 at the North Creek Church, 2303 Ygnacio Valley Road in Walnut Creek.

Posted on Friday, June 11th, 2010
Under: Congress, Congressional District 10 | 3 Comments »

CD10: Take a 52-second tour of the district

Republican primary candidate Buddy Burke in the 10th Congressional District posted this clever 52-second tour of the district. His best line comes at the end.

Who is Buddy Burke? Well, that’s his chief obstacle although not the only one.

He is one of two Republicans — the other is Gary Clift — vying for the chance  to challenge incumbent Democratic Rep. John Garamendi, the former California lieutenant governor who won the seat in a special election last year.  Neither of the Republicans stand much of a chance: It’s a heavily Democratic district; Garamendi has high name identification; and he will have lots of money.

Posted on Friday, May 14th, 2010
Under: 2010 election, Congressional District 10 | 14 Comments »

Garamendi named to Armed Services Committee

Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove

Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove

House Democratic leaders have named Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, to the House Armed Services Committee.

Garamendi requested the assignment after his election in September but was unsuccessful. The committee has oversight of the U.S. military and the massive Department of Defense budget.

“Over the last six months, there have been some changes on the committee as members moved on and others wanted different assignments, and a seat opened up,” Garamendi said via telephone a few minutes ago. “The leadership thinks I am doing a good job and thought the Armed Services Committee would be a good fit for me and my district.”

The 10th Congressional District contains Travis Air Force Base and two national laboratories, the Livermore and Sandia labs.

In his new role, Garamendi will announce Monday the introduction of legislation that would permit the opening of a technology transfer campus adjacent to the two national laboratories, where private companies will rent space and collaborate with government researchers.

The congressman’s committee assignments now match that of his predecessor, former Rep. Ellen Tauscher, who resigned to take a high-level job in the U.S. State Department. Garamendi was elected in a special election on Sept. 1, 2009.

Garamendi is also a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and will retain his seat on the Science and Technology Committee.

Posted on Thursday, May 6th, 2010
Under: Congress, Congressional District 10 | 8 Comments »