California Governor Jerry Brown announced today (Thursday, March 28) that former Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher, who fought against the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban on gays serving in the military, will chair his newly established military council.
Tauscher, who represented the East Bay district that includes Walnut Creek for more than 12 years and was also an under secretary of state, was once the lead sponsor on a bill to repeal DADT. Tauscher left Congress in 2009. The anti-gay law was finally repealed in 2011.
“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 statement. “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 Department of Defense directly employs more than 236,000 people in the state. The new panel will work to protect the state’s military installations and operations amid ongoing defense budget cuts, among other tasks.
“California’s military infrastructure is critically important to national security,” Tauscher stated. “The Council will send a unified message to Washington, D.C., that highlights the value of our military bases.”
Tauscher’s position doesn’t require Senate confirmation, and there’s no compensation.
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-San Francisco), stated, “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. 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.
For more information, including a full list of council members, visit http://gov.ca.gov.