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Ruth (Tina) Tate was born on September 5, 1944, in Atlanta, Georgia, to Clifford Holmes McGaughey, Sr., the owner of a sporting goods store, and Mary Elizabeth Barnes, a homemaker. After earning an A.A. degree from Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri, Tate graduated from Emory College in Atlanta with a B.A. in history. In 1966 she married Danny Clyde Tate, a lawyer; the couple raised one child, Daniel Clyde Tate, Jr. Tina Tate worked at the University of Georgia libraries while her husband was in law school and later took a job as a receptionist in Atlanta with Merrill Lynch, transferring to Washington, D.C., in September 1969, when her husband accepted a position with Georgia Senator Herman Talmadge. After working as an office manager at Cox Broadcasting from 1970 to 1972, Tate joined the House Radio-TV Gallery on July 15, 1972.

The first woman employed in the House Radio-TV Gallery, Tate served as an assistant superintendent for nine years before being promoted to director in October 1981. As director, Tate oversaw the daily operations of the House Radio-TV Gallery, where she facilitated coverage of House proceedings for radio and TV broadcasters. Her duties encompassed standard tasks, such as supervising the daily log of House proceedings for reporters, as well as more-complex responsibilities like coordinating radio and TV coverage of major media events such as Joint Sessions and Lying in State ceremonies. Tate also participated in national political conventions that spanned nearly two decades, credentialing broadcasters and allocating sky box, standup, and radio positions. Throughout her career, Tate strove to balance the needs of the gallery’s radio and TV broadcasters with the rules and traditions of the House.

Tate retired from the House on May 31, 2007. She served as the director of media relations at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., from July 2007 to July 2009. Tate and her husband reside in Washington, D.C.