Jackie Speier

American politician

Karen Lorraine Jacqueline "Jackie" Speier (born May 14, 1950) is an American lawyer and politician who served as the U.S. representative for California's 14th congressional district, serving in Congress from 2008 to 2023. A member of the Democratic Party, Speier represented the northern two-thirds of San Mateo County and the southwest quarter of San Francisco.

2005 photo, Jackie Speier.


  • We were about to board the planes for the flight back to the United States. Jim Jones didn't want us to leave, at least not alive. A tractor trailer loaded with men armed with shotguns and rifles pulled up and opened fire on us at that airstrip. Congressman Ryan was gunned down, having been shot 40 times. The first and only congressman in the history of this country to be assassinated during the line of duty. I was shot five times and left to bleed on that airstrip for 22 hours. Back at Jonestown, over 900 people lost their lives in a mass murder and suicide that night. This is what I awoke to on that long day. I was 28 years old, and I was waiting to die. I laid awake all night fearing some of the gunmen would come back and finish us off. Time passed, and local Guyanese people offered me rum to try and get me through the night. I had a lot of time to think. I promised God that if I lived, I would make every day count. I promised that I would make something out of my life if I was allowed to keep my life. Well, here I am. I have chosen a career as a public servant. One, I hope many of you will contemplate as you move forward in your lives.
  • Leo Ryan's life and his deeds are about a life that was so much more than Guyana. He was relentless in his search for answers, answers that were not readily available by just asking questions...We remember him today because his story is so much like those of most Americans; we want to believe the best and we sometimes hear the worst.
    • "Tribute to congressman Leo Ryan held in Foster City", San Francisco Chronicle (November 18, 2003).
  • I really planned to speak about something else but the gentleman from New Jersey just put my stomach in knots because I'm one of those women he spoke about just now [...] I had a procedure at 17 weeks pregnant with a child who moved from the vagina into the cervix. And that procedure that you just described is a procedure that I endured.
    I lost the baby [...] And for you to stand on this floor and suggest that somehow this is a procedure that is either welcomed or done cavalierly or done without any thought, is preposterous. [...] Planned Parenthood has a right to operate. Planned Parenthood has a right to provide services for family planning. Planned Parenthood has a right to offer abortions [...] Last time I checked, abortions were legal in this country.
  • It's time to be more than a weekend wife and mother and friend and it's time to pass the torch to a new generation.
    • [1] on retirement
  • "Forty-three years ago this week, I was lying on an airstrip in the jungles of Guyana with five bullet holes in my body. I vowed that if I survived, I would dedicate my life to public service. I lived, and I served. It's been a remarkable journey that has surpassed my wildest dreams."
    • [2] on when she was ambushed on an airstrip by followers of Jim Jones, the group’s leader
  • "I know what it’s like to lie in bed at night, wondering if I was the one who had done something wrong. I know what it’s like years later to remember that rush of humiliation and anger.
    • [3]she said in 2017, encouraging other women who worked at the Capitol and who had been subjected to harassment to come forward.
  • "There are more chapters in my life book. And I look forward to writing those chapters with the people l know and love"
    • [4] Speier said at the end of her video message.

Quotes about her

  • "Her courageous and values-based leadership, particularly on behalf of the women, survivors and the vulnerable, has made a difference in the lives of countless Americans and has strengthened our nation"
    • [5] Pelosi said
  • "I had the privilege of closely observing [Speier] in action as her Senate district director and Assembly district aide before that. I was awed by her ability to stand up to powerful interests regardless of potential political consequences"
    • [6] Kevin Mullin, a Democrat who lives in her district and will be termed out next year said
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