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Rep. Jackie Speier Announces She Will Not Seek Re-Election In 2022 – CBS San Francisco

WASHINGTON (CBS SF) — Veteran Bay Area Congresswoman Jackie Speier, who survived the violence surrounding the Jonestown massacre while serving as an aide to slain Congressman Leo Ryan, announced Tuesday she would not seek reelection in 2022.

In a video release, Speier said she had mixed emotions making the announcement while also recalling those darks at the airport in Guyana.

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“Forty-three years ago, as I lay dying on a jungle airstrip, I promised God that, if I were allowed to live, I would dedicate my life to public service,” she said. “I was given that chance, and thanks to you, I was able to make good on that promise.”

Speier was a member of a group who accompanied Ryan in 1978 to Guyana to check on the well being of more than 900 people — many Bay Area residents — who had moved to a jungle compound to be with and follow People’s Temple founder Jim Jones.

After becoming alarmed at what he saw, Ryan headed to an airport in Port Kaituma, but the party was ambushed at the airstrip. Ryan and several others were killed. Speier, shot five times, was among the wounded.

Jones ordered a cyanide-laced drink be given to more than 900 of his followers who died at the jungle encampment.

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Speier unsuccessfully campaigned for Ryan’s seat, but eventually won her first election in 1980 when she ran for the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors.

What followed where stops in the California State Assembly, California State Senate and then she won a special election to fill the 14th Congressional seat vacancy on the San Francisco Peninsula when Rep. Tom Lantos died in 2008.

“It has been a remarkable journey that has surpassed my wildest dreams, and I could not have done it without you,” she said. “No one could have hoped for a better partner. Thanks to you and to others who joined with you, I have enjoyed nearly four decades in a career that defines the phrase ‘chance of a lifetime.’”

But she admitted her time had come to an end after 39 years in public life.

“Now, it is time to take a different path,” she said. “I will be retiring in 2022. It is time for me to come home and be more than a weekend wife, mother, and friend.”

Speier listed the achievements she was most proud of during her 13 years in Congress. She fought to:

  • Strengthen consumer protection laws
  • Secure tens of millions of dollars for the San Francisco Bay
  • Root out waste, fraud, and abuse at the Pentagon
  • Clean up how sexual harassment is handled in the halls of Congress
  • Secure hundreds of millions of dollars for service members who were victims of medical malpractice
  • Pass legislation to remove the arbitrary time limit for the ratification of the ERA
  • Recover millions in veterans’ benefits for my constituents

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“Just this year, I was finally able to pass legislation to fix our broken system of handling sexual assault in the military, securing justice for survivors,” she said. “I was also proud to vote for our infrastructure bill that will spur the greatest investments in rail, bridges, roads, broadband, and energy in the last half century. I hope to soon vote again for the Build Back Better plan that will invest directly in fighting climate change, and provide help to families through offering universal pre-k and expanding childcare, housing, healthcare and so much more. ”

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