Speier retires after 14 years of service

Nathan Loeffler Malatesta '23, Food Editor

A woman’s rights activist. A leader. A hard worker. A person of her word. 

All of these have been labels for Congresswoman Jackie Speier,a woman of character who has served the San Francisco Bay Area for 18 years, and who has now announced her retirement at the age of 72. 

Jackie Speier’s early career was quite unusual. She began as an aide under Congressman Leo Ryan, whom she accompanied in 1978 to Port Kaituma, Guyana, site of the Jonestown massacre. While on the visit, Speier was left barely clinging onto life on the airport tarmac, having been shot five times with an assault rifle in an attack by cult members that resulted in the death of Ryan. She persevered through her pain and vowed to continue her work as a public servant. 

In 2008, she replaced the late congressman, Tom Lantos, who represented California’s 12th Congressional District. Since winning her seat in the United States House of Representatives, she has not slowed down. 

Throughout her career as a public servant she has fought for women’s rights, her most noticeable achievement bringing the Me Too Act to Congress, an act that eventually led to mandatory anti-harassment training. Her work has impacted women nationwide. 

Ari Jaboneta ‘23 stated, “As a woman I really feel like Jackie Spier has done so much for women during her career. Seeing her make real progress in gender equality and other areas is inspiring. Even after going through the Jamestown massacre, she still dedicated her life to public service and making sure women feel safer in whatever environment they are in.” 

She has continued to advocate for reforms to end the countless sexual assaults in the military and on college campuses, and has also raised millions of dollars for Alzheimer’s research, breast cancer research, and gun violence prevention.

Her legendary career is now ending, as she has finally deemed her service enough, and wants to spend the rest of her life attending to the relationships in her life. Yet until her last day, she is going to make each day left in Congress count. 

When asked by NPR about the time she has left, she stated, “I have lots more work I want to do to support our military families, to deal with sexual assault on college campuses, in the military. I want to make sure that our people have a future.” 

Until her last day as a representative of the people, Speier will continue to work towards her goals of trying to make the world a better place.