by John Grennan
U.S. Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Walnut Creek, spoke to a group of students, faculty members and staff at a town hall forum at the Soda Center on March 2, saying her experiences at a Catholic college played a large part in shaping her political vision.
“Like many Saint Mary’s students here today, I was the first in my family to go to college,” said Tauscher, a 1973 graduate of Seton Hall University. At age 25, Tauscher was one of the first women to hold a seat on the New York Stock Exchange. Since 1997 she has represented California’s 10th Congressional District, which includes Saint Mary’s and parts of Contra Costa, Alameda and Solano counties.
Tauscher primarily addressed the Iraq war and its likely impact on the current generation of college students. She serves on the House Armed Services Committee and chairs the Strategic Forces Subcommittee; her district includes two national defense labs, Lawrence Livermore and Sandia, and Travis Air Force Base.
“The United States has borrowed $600 billion for Iraq war costs since 2002,” Tauscher said. “If you are under 30, you will be paying for that, and it will stop you from building roads and fixing Medicare or Social Security.”
While acknowledging that Iraq is the main topic of the discussion in Washington, Tauscher also discussed the Democrats’ domestic agenda, including raising the minimum wage, increasing Pell Grants and cutting interest rates on student loans.
Tauscher, who also serves on the transportation committee and water resources subcommittee, cited her leadership of the New Democrat Coalition, 63 representatives whom she described as moderates willing to be pragmatic in the pursuit of progressive policies.
“You have to make accommodations to accomplish things in Washington,” said Tauscher. “If we just stand up and say no all the time, the government itself cannot stand.”