Jackie Speier

Rep. Jackie Speier Announces She Won't Seek Re-election and Will Retire

Congresswoman's political career spans more than 40 years after surviving Jonestown shooting

NBC Universal, Inc.

U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier on Tuesday announced via social media she will not run for re-election and has decided to retire after more than 40 years in politics.

Speier (D-Hillsborough) said in a video tweet "It's time to come home. Time for me to be more than a weekend wife, mother and friend."

Speier began her video announcement by recounting being shot multiple times in 1978 while attempting to rescue cult members from the Peoples Temple in Jonestown, Guyana. Her boss at the time, Rep. Leo Ryan, was killed. That was when she decided "to be a survivor" and enter politics.

"Forty-three years ago this week, I was lying on an airstrip in the jungles of Guyana with five bullet holes in my body," she said. "I vowed that if I survived, I would dedicate my life to public service. I lived, and I served."

She ran for Ryan's seat in a special election in 1979 but lost.

Speier, 71, is the latest among a handful of officials retiring from the House of Representatives. So far, seven Democrats and four Republicans from the House have announced they're not seeking re-election in 2022.

Speier represents California's 14th District, which includes the southern portion of San Francisco through San Mateo County to East Palo Alto. She's been a member of Congress since 2008, having been re-elected seven times.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi released a statement Tuesday in part praising Speier's courage as well as her powerful accomplishments in fighting sexual assault, abuse and harassment.

"Since Day One, Congresswoman Jackie Speier has been a force in the fight to combat sexual assault and harassment in all places, from our Armed Forces to college campuses to the Congress," Pelosi said. "Her legislative success – including to bring the Me Too movement to Congress and pass the CAA Reform Act and to take the ERA to the cusp of being enshrined into the Constitution – has helped defend the dignity and rights of so many."

San Mateo County Board President David Canepa, who may be one of many seeking Speier's seat, released a statement Tuesday, calling Speier a "fearless" hero.

"One word sums up Jackie Speier, and that is 'fearless,'" Canepa said. "She is truly a hero for the ages. She endured tragedy after tragedy as a human and never wavered, never gave up on herself, her family or the constituents she serves. Her name is almost synonymous with San Mateo County, and her legacy will forever endure in my mind."

Speier's political career began in 1980 when she won a seat on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors. She also served a total of 18 years in both chambers of the California Legislature.

Contact Us