Efficiency in government may sound like an oxymoron, but a Danville woman is hoping to change that by challenging U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein.
Elizabeth Emken, 48, is a former IBM efficiency expert and has announced her bid for the senate seat currently held by Feinstein. Emken ran for Congress in 2010 but lost the Republican primary to San Ramon resident David Harmer, who, in turn, lost to Jerry McNerney.
Currently, Emken is a professional advocate for children with autism, most recently serving vice president of governmental relations for Autism Speaks, a national nonprofit organization that calls itself the largest autism advocacy group in the U.S.
Emken graduated from UCLA in 1984, with a degree in Economics and Political Science. She left IBM to become a legislative consultant and board member at Cure Autism Now, and in 2007 joined Autism Speaks, where her role was to manage the relationship between the organization and state and federal government.
In a news release, Emken said she hopes to ride the wave of anti-incumbent sentiment she expects will hit California by next year.
"What I've witnessed over the last decade: slow-moving government agencies lacking accountability and absent of return on investment--has brought me to this moment. The entitlement spending, waste and lack of transparency is something every taxpayer should see for his or herself," her Facebook page says. "The out-of-control government spending by Washington comes with a hefty price. Our debt recently crossed the $15 trillion threshold, equaling over $48,000 per citizen, or $133,000 per taxpayer. We are setting the next generation up for failure."
She lives in Danville with her husband of 25 years, Craig Swartz,a Global Enterprise Solution Architect at Dell. The couple have two daughters and a 19-year old- son, Alex, who has autism spectrum disorder.
She was unable to be reached for comment.