Ellen Tauscher

Former Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher, who represented the 10th Congressional District from 1997 to 2009, has died. The district included Livermore and a portion of the I-680 corridor.

Her family announced her death from pneumonia complications on April 29 at Stanford Medical Center on April 29. She was 67.

While in Congress, she served on the House Armed Services Committee and chaired its Strategic Forces Subcommittee, making her tenure particularly important to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and Sandia National Laboratories.

Tauscher resigned from Congress in 2009 to become Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs in the Obama administration, negotiating the New START strategic arms treaty with the Russian Federation. She developed her knowledge and interest in nuclear weapons control as a result off her connection with LLNL.

Tauscher’s good friend, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, told Politico Magazine that Tauscher was "the most important person in negotiations of the New START Treaty.” It limits the number of nuclear warheads Russia and the U.S. can deploy. "In my opinion, it would not have happened without her," Clinton said of the Treaty.

A LLNL press release notes that Tauscher’s centrist brand of politics, dubbed “Tauscherism,” boosted her national profile as a key voice of moderate Democrats in seven terms in Congress and leader of the 60-member House New Democrat Coalition. During her tenure as congresswoman, she served as chair of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee, responsible for oversight of the country’s nuclear weapons stockpile, missile defense program and the national labs.

Laboratory Director Bill Goldstein stated, “Ellen was a great leader who leaves a legacy of service to the nation and to international nuclear security. She gave generously of her time and passion to the causes she believed in, and was a loyal friend and mentor to those who worked with her.

“Among those causes was this Laboratory, which, since her time as representative from the 10th Congressional District, she has championed as a force for international security and the advance of science and technology. As chair of our Board of Governors, Ellen brought her experience, savvy and limitless commitment to excellence and the Lab’s mission to lead us at a crucial time. Her strong, steady hand will be greatly missed. Our hearts go out to her family.”

During her time in Congress, Tauscher worked with an intern named Eric Swalwell, who was hoping to advance to professional soccer, and was studying at the University of Maryland.

Now living in Dublin, where he grew up and served on the City Council, Swalwell represents the 15th District. After redistricting, it includes parts of the district Tauscher represented.

Swalwell said in a formal statement released to the news media, “Ellen Tauscher was a force: a force who passionately served her constituents, a force for good in the world as one of America’s top diplomats, and always a force of loyalty for any friend who counted on her. We will miss her dearly.”

“I would not be where I am, or who I am, if not for Ellen Tauscher. When I joined her office as an intern in 2001, I was a college athlete unsure of what I wanted to do with my life. The example she set with her public service, her leadership and her character inspired me to think beyond my own pursuits, and set my goals around helping others.

“In all these things and more, Ellen Tauscher was a bold and selfless champion who strove at every turn to make our world a better, safer, healthier place. She was also a great mentor and friend, and I will miss her wisdom, guidance, and friendship every day,” said Swalwell.

HIGH LEVEL OF ACHIEVEMENT

Born Ellen O’Kane to a New Jersey family, Tauscher was the first in her family to attend college. At age 25, she became one of the first women to hold a seat on the New York Stock Exchange.

Even before running for office, Tauscher created the Tauscher Foundation in 1980 to help California and Texas schools buy computer equipment for elementary school students. She created the Child Care Registry, the first national service to help parents check on the backgrounds of child-care workers.

Tauscher also chaired two campaigns for Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

After her career in the State Department, she served on the University of California Board of Regents. From that seat, she chaired the Board of Governors for Los Alamos National Security LLC and Lawrence Livermore National Security LLC, a consortium led by the regents.