Jackie Speier (pronounced SPEAR) has lived her entire life inside California’s 14th Congressional District and in April 2008 was elected to represent the district in Congress. Previously she had served the residents of the San Francisco Peninsula while on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors and later in the California State Assembly and State Senate. In total she has over 29 years of representative public service.
Jackie serves on the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform where she is Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Healthcare, and Entitlements; and the House Armed Services Committee, including a subcommittee that authorizes procurement and R&D programs to ensure that America’s soldiers and airmen are fully equipped to carry out their mission to keep our nation safe. She is also a member of her party’s leadership team as Senior Whip, working within the Democratic caucus to push issues that will create jobs and strengthen the middle class. In January, 2013, Jackie was appointed to serve as a Vice Chair of a new congressional Gun Violence Prevention Task Force that is investigating new steps Congress can take now and in the future to reduce gun violence and prevent massacres like the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
Nationally, Jackie is best known for her passionate and compelling speeches on the House floor, such as her spontaneous response to a congressional colleague who trivialized women who – like her – have had medically necessary second trimester abortions. She routinely speaks on the House floor about men and women in our armed forces who have been raped or sexually assaulted while in the line of duty. She has also taken a lead role in working with the veterans organizations to improve delivery of VA benefits to Bay Area veterans. In 2012 Newsweek named Jackie to its list of 150 “fearless women” in the world.
Locally, Jackie is known as a fighter. In 1978, as a staff member to then-Congressman Leo J. Ryan, she was shot five times while trying to rescue constituents from the People’s Temple compound in Jonestown, Guyana – an attack that left Congressman Ryan and six others dead and was followed by the mass murder-suicide of more than 900 Temple followers. Jackie tenaciously hung onto life for 23 hours on a dusty airstrip before aid arrived. It is this fighting spirit that defines her to her constituents at home.
When a devastating gas pipeline explosion destroyed a neighborhood in San Bruno in 2010, the residents and city officials turned to Jackie for help in determining the cause and accelerating repairs. She convened community meetings, held local utility officials accountable and prodded state and federal officials to personally get involved, ultimately leading the Pacific Gas & Electric Company to institute new safety measures and to provide increased help for affected residents. Jackie followed up by authoring the “National Pipeline Safety Act” to reduce the risk of similar catastrophes by requiring improved testing of high-pressure gas pipelines located near residential areas.
Jackie was the first California state legislator to give birth while in office and, during her time in Sacramento, she authored more than 300 bills signed into law by both Republican and Democratic governors. These bills included the nation’s strongest financial privacy law and measures that expanded women’s access to reproductive health services and vastly improved collection of delinquent child support payments. She also led high-profile investigations of fraudulent and wasteful government spending and prison corruption, ultimately saving millions of taxpayer dollars.
Jackie continues her focus on consumer and taxpayer issues in the House of Representatives. She is an outspoken critic of the earmark process, which allows politicians to direct funding toward favored projects, and was an early proponent of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, created to help level the playing field for American consumers and investors when dealing with banks and credit card companies.
During the 112th Congress, she introduced the “Do Not Track Me Online Act” to enable consumers to opt-out of any collection of personal information by websites, e-mail providers and other online entities. Jackie is widely credited with being the driving force behind forcing Craigslist to remove its Adult Services section and she is working with law enforcement and the airline and hotel industries in effort to stop human trafficking. She has also pushed for a crackdown on toxins in children’s products, leading to the recall of 12 million “Shrek” drinking glasses sold at McDonald’s.
Jackie received a BA in Political Science from the University of California at Davis and a JD from UC Hastings College of the Law. Along with her husband, Barry Dennis, and children, Jackson and Stephanie, Jackie is a proud fan of the 2012 World Champion San Francisco Giants and she enjoys yoga, golf and anything that allows her to spend time with her family.