Jackie Speier is coming home

Saying she wants to spend more time with family, U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier said on Tuesday that she won't seek re-election to her seat in the House's 14th Congressional District. Photo courtesy Jackie Speier's office

U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier, who has represented constituents on the peninsula for 41 years, announced on Tuesday that she will not seek re-election to an increasingly rancorous Congress in the 2022 midterm elections.

Speier, whose 14th Congressional District includes the Coastside, is in the midst of her seventh term in the House of Representatives. Before that, she served for six years in the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors and another 18 in the California Legislature. Speier first sought elective office after she was shot five times and left to die on a tarmac in Guyana as she accompanied her boss, Rep. Leo Ryan, on a mercy mission that sought to rescue people in an ill-fated cult.

In a video announcing her pending retirement from politics, Speier referenced that traumatic experience.

“I vowed that if I survived, I would dedicate my life to public service, she said. “I lived and I served.”

Speier said she was privileged to serve the people of her Bay Area district but that the time had come to move on.

“It’s time for me to come home,” she said. “Time for me to be more than a weekend wife, mother and friend.”

Speier has been an extraordinarily popular elected official at home and a lightning rod in other parts of the country. She voiced contempt for some of President Donald Trump’s followers in the wake of the Jan. 6 uprising, calling the assault on the U.S. Capitol a “coup d’etat” after she herself was forced to hide from rioters. She supported two impeachments of the former president.

Speier’s regular appearances on the coast often drew large crowds. Hundreds turned out to hear her and participate in a health care town hall in 2009. Concerned Coastsiders filled the Cabrillo Event Center on a Saturday in 2017 to hear her thoughts about Trump and immigration concerns brought by his policies. Two years later, constituents lined up at the Half Moon Bay Library to shake her hand and ask her to sign their copies of her book, “Undaunted.”

She was a strong voice against discrimination against transgendered and gay people in the military. As the chair of the House Armed Services Committee’s subcommittee on Military Personnel, she railed against rape at military academies and worked toward stronger cyber defenses.

“I’ve been touched by your support in good times and bad,” she said in Tuesday’s video.

Clay Lambert is the editorial director for Coastside News Group. After years working at regional daily newspapers, he began as editor of the Half Moon Bay Review in 2004.

(1) comment

DEBORAH WONG

If anyone deserves a happy retirement, Congresswoman Jackie Speier does. I am grateful for her representation throughout the years, for her contributions to ensuring our Democracy, and her continued fight for human rights. I will never forget her strength and courage during the Jonestown massacre. Yay, Jackie! ENJOY your retirement!

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