U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Francisco/San Mateo, announced Tuesday she will not seek reelection in 2022 after more than a decade in Congress.
In a video shared on social media, Speier recalled being shot five times at the Jonestown massacre in Guyana in 1978 while working as a staffer for U.S. Rep. Leo Ryan, who was fatally shot on the trip to investigate Jim Jones and the People's Temple, a cult that had previously been based in his Peninsula congressional district.
Speier said her career in public office, which has taken her from the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors to the state Legislature to in 2008 being elected to the seat in Congress in 2008, has been "a remarkable journey that has surpassed my wildest dreams." Her district, California's 14th Congressional District, includes parts of San Francisco and runs as far south as East Palo Alto on the Midpeninsula and San Gregorio on the Coastside.
Government officials, including San Mateo County politicians, congratulated Speier on her retirement and commended her for her work in public office.
"Her body of legislative work has been consequential, her integrity never questioned, and her courage and effectiveness are admired by all," Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, said in a tweet.
"(Speier) is a true superhero who has had an incredible career and done so much for the people of our state and country," said state Sen. Josh Becker (D-Menlo Park). "We all owe her a debt of gratitude for her tremendous service."
San Mateo County Board of Supervisors President David Canepa in a statement called Speier "fearless."
"She is truly a hero for the ages," Canepa said. "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 has been active in legislation for women's rights in Congress, including helping to craft a law that went into effect in 2019 that mandates anti-harassment training in congressional offices and that members of Congress must cover the costs for their harassing behavior rather than taxpayers.
She also serves on the House Armed Services Committee and House Intelligence Committee, overseeing changes to military affairs, including passing amendments to address sexual violence and misconduct among the troops.
However, she said in announcing she will not seek reelection that it was "time to be more than a weekend wife, mother and friend."
Speier has a husband, Barry Dennis, and two children, Jackson and Stephanie, according to her office.