Jackie Speier (pronounced SPEAR) represents California’s 14th Congressional District, which stretches from the southern portion of San Francisco through San Mateo County to East Palo Alto. She is a tireless advocate for women’s rights, the public good, and the security of Americans. She was named to Newsweek’s list of 150 “Fearless Women” in the world.
She serves on the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) as the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Military Personnel and on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI). Speier was also appointed as a Democratic member of the Select Committee that House Republicans have established to attack women’s health. She agreed to serve on it in order to defend women’s health and hold the committee’s leadership accountable.
Fighting for Women’s Rights
Speier brought the Me Too movement to Congress in the fall of 2017, with the introduction of her Me Too Congress bill. It has been used as the basis for the bipartisan Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 Reform Act (CAA Reform Act), which passed the House unanimously in February of 2018. If passed by the Senate, the bill would hold Members of Congress financially responsible if they cut a settlement for sexual harassment or assault of their staff, or if they are found to committed the harassment or assault through congressional oversight and investigation. She also continues to advocate for fundamental reforms to end the epidemic of sexual assault in the military and on college campuses, and she is leading the fight against sexism in the fields of science and technology. She is at the forefront of efforts to end discrimination and close the gender pay gap through ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment and passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act.
During her 18 years in both houses of the California Legislature, she had more than 300 bills signed into law by both Republican and Democratic governors. Some of her highest-profile efforts secured justice for women and children, including a series of bills that led to the collection of more than $2 billion in delinquent court-ordered child support payments. She authored a measure that gave the state the nation’s strongest financial privacy law.
Eliminating Government Waste, Fraud, Abuse, and Corruption
Speier is fighting for the safety, health, and rights of all Americans. That includes getting tough on big banks; ending taxpayer bailouts; and eliminating wasteful and fraudulent government spending at all levels. She is also working to keep housing and student loans affordable; protect private information from cyberattacks and cyberespionage; and stop abusive practices like so-called “gay conversion therapy” and discrimination against transgender soldiers. She is also an enthusiastic supporter and promoter of research of traumatic brain injury, Alzheimer’s, breast cancer, and gun violence; and is dedicated to preventing children’s deaths caused by unsafe products and tragedies like the 2010 San Bruno explosion that took the lives of eight people in her district.
Strong on National Defense
As ranking member of the HASC Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation and a member of HPSCI, she has worked to keep the United States secure from terrorists and hostile nations, to honor and support our veterans, to ensure American troops have the right equipment to do their jobs, and to save taxpayers millions by fighting for improved cyberdefenses and sound management practices at the Pentagon. On these committees and in her previous assignments, she has led numerous investigations to protect the public by exposing corruption and dysfunction. Speier is a leading advocate of efforts to protect human rights and save taxpayer money by shutting down the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay.--
Speier first ran for Congress in 1979, facing a crowded field in a special election for a seat formerly held by Congressman Leo J. Ryan, for whom Speier had served as a legislative aide.
The special election had been called after Ryan was shot to death in Jonestown, at the compound of the People’s Temple, a cult in Guyana that had previously been based in Ryan’s district of San Francisco. Speier traveled with Ryan on that trip in 1978 in an attempt to rescue some of the cult’s 900 members. But Speier was left nearly lifeless herself on the airport tarmac after being shot five times at point blank range.
Speier needed multiple surgeries after the tragedy, and while recovering she realized she had a choice to make: Did she want to be a victim or did she want to be a survivor?
Speier chose to be a survivor.
Jackie Speier received a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California at Davis, and a J.D. from UC Hastings College of the Law. Along with her husband, Barry Dennis, and her children, Jackson and Stephanie, she is a proud fan of the San Francisco Giants, the Golden State Warriors, and a lover of all things California. She enjoys any activity that allows her to spend time with her family.