Another Ethiopia RPCV To Run For U.S. Congress

Less than a month ago Ellen Tausher, who has represented California 10th congressional district since 1997, announced that she had accepted the position in the Obama Administration of Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security. In the mean time, PeaceCorpsWorldwise has learned that John Garamendi (Ethiopia 1965–67), the Lieutenant Governor of California, will not run for the governorship of the state but instead seek  Tausher’s seat. A special election will take place this coming August. The 10thdistrict includes parts of the San Francisco Bay area, as well as areas near Sacramento. John is tentative scheduled to make his announcement tomorrow, Wednesday, at a job center in Concord, California.  If elected, Garamendi would be the second PCV from Ethiopia to be in Congress. Paul  Tsongas (Ethiopia 1962–64) was elected to the House of Representatives in 1974 and served two terms in the House. In 1978 he was elected to the U.S. Senate.

Garamendi is no stranger to Washington, D.C. In the Clinton administration, he was the U.S. Deputy Secretary of the Interior. During the same period,  his wife, Patricia Garamendi (Ethiopia 1965–67), was the Peace Corps Associate Director for Recruitment & Selection.

John became the 46th Lieutenant Governor of California in ’07. He had previously been the California State Insurance Commissioner from 2003 – 2007.

An interesting note — Garamendi is of Basque descent, and  garamendi literally means height of the mountain in the Basque language. We are not sure if John will be the tallest member of Congress, but he will be close to setting that mark.

Good luck, John!


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  • Interesting on two counts, the news and the name origin. I’ve been reading a lot of Roman history lately, and have discovered that the Garamendi (or a version thereof) were among its subject peoples on the Iberian peninsula. It was fascinating to see that historical reference when I ran across it.

  • John Coyne totally scooped the news for California about our announcement for Congress 10
    The staff all started getting calls before the press conference….gotta love those peace corps friends..made my day….
    things look good for the race

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