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Ellen Tauscher defends Hillary’s email situation

Former East Bay Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher got into a heated exchange with Fox News anchor Shannon Bream on Sunday while defending Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton regarding her private e-mail server.

Tauscher, a Democrat from Alamo, was a strong Clinton supporter during 2008’s Democratic presidential primary. She left Congress in 2009 to go work for then-Secretary of State Clinton as undersecretary of state for arms control and international security affairs until February 2012. She then served six months as special envoy for strategic stability and missile defense.

Posted on Tuesday, August 25th, 2015
Under: 2016 presidential election, Ellen Tauscher, Hillary Clinton | 1 Comment »

Tauscher names GOP co-chair for redistricting push

Former East Bay Rep. Ellen Tauscher announced Tuesday that she’s bringing on a former colleague from the other side of the aisle to co-chair her effort to export California’s citizen-redistricting model to the rest of the nation.

Ellen TauscherTauscher, a Democrat formerly of Alamo who represented part of the East Bay from 1997 to 2009, said former Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., will co-chair YouDrawTheLines2021, an organization she formed to take reapportionment power away from state legislatures and give it to independent commissions. She launched the effort in the wake of last month’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that upheld the constitutionality of Arizona’s independent redistricting commission – and by extension, California’s as well.

In a statement issued Tuesday, Tauscher said she’s thrilled to share the group’s leadership with Davis. “Independent non-partisan redistricting commissions, like the one we have in California, create the opportunity for more competitive districts and for more moderates of both parties to get elected to Congress,” she said.

Davis said the effort is “critical to getting Congress working again.”

“Creating independent non-partisan citizen advisory commissions in even five or six states before the 2020 census could make all the difference to the make-up of Congress in the next decade,” Davis said. “Ellen and I will be reaching out to our former colleagues and like-minded state elected officials of both parties in these key states to put the wheels in motion to get this done over the next five years.”

The project will focus on passing ballot initiatives in key states over the next three election cycles to approve the formation of independent, non-partisan citizen redistricting commissions based on California’s model that was passed in 2008.

Tauscher left her House seat in 2009 to become Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs – serving under then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – until February 2012, and then served as Special Envoy for Strategic Stability and Missile Defense until August 2012. She now splits her time between San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

Posted on Tuesday, July 28th, 2015
Under: Ellen Tauscher, redistricting | 5 Comments »

An Ellen Tauscher v. Karl Rove smackdown

You can be in the audience as Ellen Tauscher, the former East Bay congresswoman and under secretary of state, has a policy discussion with GOP strategist and super-PAC-master Karl Rove, the former deputy chief of staff and senior advisor to President George W. Bush, on Thursday, Jan. 22 in Concord.

Tauscher v. Rove

“This unique pairing will offer insights about the political landscape and its impacts on the economy both nationally and regionally,” according to a “save the date” email sent Thursday by the East Bay Leadership Council. The event will be held at the Hilton Concord, 1970 Diamond Blvd., but further details and registration are not yet available.

Posted on Thursday, November 20th, 2014
Under: Ellen Tauscher | 1 Comment »

Tauscher to speak at Cal on U.S.-Russia relations

Ellen Tauscher started the summer optimistic that the improving U.S.-Russia relationship would provide fertile ground for new arms-control agreements – but it’s been a tough couple of months since then.

“This is like batting-cage practice when the machine goes wild and is throwing balls at you left and right,” she said in a telephone interview Monday. “Events can overtake you.”

negotiating aloneTauscher, a former East Bay congresswoman who served for three years as Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs, will be back in the Bay Area on Oct. 30 to deliver a speech entitled “Negotiating Alone? The United States, Russia and the Prospect of Arms Control.”

Sponsored by the Robert T. Matsui Center for Politics and Public Service at UC-Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies, Tauscher’s address will assess the prospects for future arms control agreements between two nations that still retain vast nuclear arsenals.

Tauscher in June had co-authored an article in Foreign Policy magazine with Igor Ivanov – a president of the Russian International Affairs Council and former Russian Federation foreign minister – in which they wrote the U.S.-Russian political dialogue was finally gaining momentum toward mutually assured stability.

But things turned sour this summer. Russia in June enacted new laws limiting civil liberties for gays and lesbians; in August gave asylum to National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden; and throughout maintained its support for its longtime ally Syrian President Bashar Assad during that nation’s brutal civil war. President Obama cancelled a September summit meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Can this marriage be saved?” Tauscher quipped Monday, before adding that it must be.

“It is a fundamentally important relationship for many, many reasons, and we are not at our best right now – that is for sure – but I think that everybody who has been part of this for a long time knows that relationships ebb and wane,” she said, adding efforts are afoot to “try to get back to a better footing” and “find a way to remember that we do some of the best works in the world together.”

Ellen TauscherThe Syria situation – in which Russia for years has blocked U.N. Security Council resolutions condemning Assad’s government, and then last month brokered a deal for destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons – has been particularly trying, Tauscher said.

“This is when it’s very difficult to keep a sense of equilibrium in the relationship because it’s not just the obvious bilateral and international roles that we play,” she said. “It’s very complicated when third, fourth and fifth parties are involved, and that’s part of the situation we find ourselves in now.”

She said she hopes the “Track II” nonofficial talks that she’s a part of will be fruitful as a “back channel way for conversations to keep going when the public face of the relationship is not the prettiest.”

Tauscher is now senior public policy adviser to the Baker Donelson law firm in Washington, D.C. Registration for her Matsui Lecture is available online.

Posted on Monday, October 21st, 2013
Under: Ellen Tauscher, International politics | 2 Comments »

Tauscher to chair new Governor’s Military Council

Gov. Jerry Brown probably believes it’s fine for the nation to speak softly, but he’s enlisting a former East Bay Congresswoman to ensure California remains part of its big stick.

Ellen TauscherBrown today appointed former East Bay Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher to chair a new Governor’s Military Council, tasked with protecting California’s military installations against the deep budget cuts being made by the Pentagon under the sequestration approved by Congress and President Obama.

“California plays a crucial role in our nation’s defense, and military bases and activities are vital to our state’s economy,” Brown said in a news release. “As federal priorities shift to cyber security and new military technology, this Council will work to expand defense-industry jobs and investment in California.”

California is home to 29 federal military installations, and the Defense Department directly employs more than 236,000 people in California. This new council will work to protect those installations and operations amid ongoing Defense Department budget cuts, and to push for changes in federal military strategy that will keep California at the front of defense innovation.

“California’s military infrastructure is critically important to national security,” Tauscher said. “The Council will send a unified message to Washington, D.C., that highlights the value of our military bases.”

Tauscher, 61, represented her East Bay congressional district from 1997 until 2009, when she resigned to take a post as U.S. Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs; she left that post in February 2012. More recently, she served as the State Department’s Special Envoy for Strategic Stability and Missile Defense and Vice Chair-Designate of the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security. She is now a strategic advisor to the Baker Donelson law firm in Washington, D.C.

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., noted defense is key sector of the state’s economy.

“With federal budgets continuing to be cut — including many defense programs — it is my hope that the Governor’s Military Council will help protect jobs and investments and attract new missions associated with California’s military presence,” she said. “I also believe that Ellen Tauscher is an excellent choice to chair this council, as she brings a wealth of experience at the State Department and as a member of the House of Representatives.”

The council will convene for one year and draft specific recommendations to the governor and Legislature. It includes retired admirals and generals from all military branches, the Adjutant General of the California National Guard and lawmakers selected by state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker John Perez. The appointments don’t require Senate confirmation and there is no compensation.

See the full roster of council members as described by the governor’s office, after the jump…
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, March 28th, 2013
Under: economy, Ellen Tauscher, Jerry Brown, national security | 5 Comments »

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 »

Tauscher cancer free, says Post



Former East Bay congresswoman Ellen Tauscher, now under secretary for international security and arms control in the U.S. State Department, is cancer free, according to the Washington Post’s “What Happened To …” segment.

That’s excellent news.

Not long after her 2009 marriage to retired pilot Jim Cieslak, Tauscher  underwent chemotherapy and radiation, and then surgery to remove her esophagus.

These two make a wonderful couple and they deserve many more years together.  My best wishes for a continued clean bill of health!

Posted on Sunday, March 27th, 2011
Under: Ellen Tauscher, women in politics | 14 Comments »

Santa visits Tauscher early



Christmas has come a little early for former East Bay Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher, now Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security in the U.S. State Department.

The U.S. Senate today in a vote of 71 to 26 ratified a new arms control treaty with Russia that will cap nuclear warheads and restart on-site weapons inspections. As the undersecretary over arms control who reports directly to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Tauscher played a key role in the treaty negotiations.

And earlier today, President Barack Obama signed legislation that ends a ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the U.S. military. Tauscher was the original cosponsor of the bill; she turned it over to Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Pa., before she left Congress in 2009 for her new job.

Tauscher cannot, in her new position, comment on the military legislation she wrote, but sources say Murphy called her Saturday, and in a touching conversation, told the former legislator that the bill “wouldn’t have happened without her.”

Tauscher is under no such prohibition on the subject of the START treaty, although she made her statement as she recovers from esophageal cancer surgery performed earlier this month.

“I want to congratulate the United States Senate for providing its advice and consent to ratification of the new START Treaty,” she said in a statement issued by her office. “I want to commend the senators from both parties who worked to achieve this positive outcome for our country.”

She added, “The new START Treaty is another step that will help move the United States and Russia toward a world of mutual assured stability. This treaty will enhance cooperation with Russia and reinforce the global nuclear nonproliferation regime.”

Tauscher went on to praise a variety of leaders, saying  “The leadership of President (Barack) Obama, Vice President (Joe) Biden, Secretary (of State Hillary) Clinton, Secretary (Robert) Gates, Admiral (Mike) Mullen, and the Director of National Intelligence were indispensable. Once again, I want to thank the Senate for putting U.S. security first and voting for the new START Treaty.”

Posted on Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010
Under: Ellen Tauscher | 9 Comments »

Tauscher to sit on cyber security board



Former East Bay Rep. Ellen Tauscher, now the Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security in the State Department, will serve on a board charged with addressing cyber security such as the disclosure of thousands of U.S. secret documents on Wikileaks, according to a national security blog.

State Department Creates Cyber Coordinator Post

Plan for New Position in Works Year Before WikiLeaks Breach

December 16, 2010 – Eric Chabrow, Executive Editor,

A newly created State Department Office of the Coordinator for Cyber Issues, unveiled in a 242-page report issued Wednesday, is charged with uniting different parts of the department working on cyber matters to more effectively advance America’s cybersecurity interests …

The coordinator will be in the Office of the Secretary, will report to Clinton, and will be guided by a cyber advisory council, chaired by Deputy Secretary James Steinberg and including Robert D. Hormats, undersecretary for economic growth, energy and the environment; Ellen Tauscher, undersecretary for arms control and international security; and Patrick Kennedy, undersecretary for management. Other senior department officials will be consulted as appropriate.

Tauscher’s name has come up in a few stories overseas and in the U.S. about the contents of secret diplomatic documents posted by Wikileaks, including these entries at the The Guardian,, the Jerusalem Post and the Los Angeles Times.

Posted on Thursday, December 16th, 2010
Under: Ellen Tauscher | 14 Comments »

Tauscher sworn in … again

The Washington Post’s foreign policy website reports today that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton officially swore in former East Bay Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher Monday as her Undersecretary for International Security and Arms Control.

Wait? Didn’t a federal judge already do that in June? I thought so, too. But who am I to argue with the Washington Post or the State Department’s mysterious ways.

Here is the first part of The Cable site’s entry. Click here for the full report.

Just back from an 11-day trip to Africa and before meetings with Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak and the White House and then heading off for vacation on Martha’s Vineyard, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton swore in her close ally, former Rep. Ellen Tauscher, as undersecretary of State for arms control and international security Monday in the State Department’s eighth floor Ben Franklin room. In attendance were National Security Advisor Gen. Jim Jones and his wife, long-time friends of Tauscher and her new groom Jim Cieslak (like Jones a former Marine), along with Clinton’s special advisor on arms control and international security Robert Einhorn, Assistant Secretary of State for Verification, Compliance and Implementation Rose Gottemoeller, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Bill Burns, and Assistant Secretary of State for Political and Military Affairs Andrew Shapiro.

Posted on Wednesday, August 19th, 2009
Under: Ellen Tauscher | No Comments »