Rep. Jackie Speier on Tuesday announced she would not seek reelection to Congress next year, becoming the latest House Democrat to opt against running for another term.
“It’s time for me to come home — time for me to be more than a weekend wife, mother and friend,” Speier (D-Calif.) said in a video statement. “It’s been an extraordinary privilege and honor to represent the people of San Mateo County and San Francisco at almost every level of government for nearly four decades.”
An ally of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Speier ascended to Congress in 2008, replacing late Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.), who died in office earlier that year.
Prior to joining the House, Speier was a longtime member of California’s state legislature and a congressional aide. In 1978, when working as a staff assistant for then-Rep. Leo Ryan (D-Calif.), Speier was part of the U.S. investigative delegation that visited the Jonestown cult community in Guyana.
The delegation was ambushed on an airstrip as its members were attempting to leave the former British colony in South America. Ryan was shot and killed. Speier suffered five gunshot wounds but survived.
“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 survived,” she said in a two-minute video announcing her retirement.
Speier hinted her retirement would not be the end of her career in politics, saying ”there’s also another chapter or two in my book of life, and I intend to contribute to you, the communities I love, on the peninsula and in San Francisco and the country.”
California is losing a seat in redistricting for the first time since the state’s founding, but Speier’s deep-blue district on the San Francisco Peninsula is unlikely to be greatly affected.
Several other longtime members of the delegation are also on retirement watch as the state’s redistricting commission moves closer toward finalizing a new map, including Democratic Reps. Grace Napolitano and Lucille Roybal-Allard. Democratic Rep. Karen Bass, meanwhile, is already vacating her seat to run for mayor of Los Angeles.
Ally Mutnick contributed to this report.