Rep. Jackie Speier responds to audience questions at a SF State Political Science department town hall on Oct. 3, 2022. Speier is set to retire in November after representing California’s 14th Congressional District, which includes SF State, since 2008. (Juliana Yamada / Golden Gate Xpress) (Juliana Yamada)
Rep. Jackie Speier responds to audience questions at a SF State Political Science department town hall on Oct. 3, 2022. Speier is set to retire in November after representing California’s 14th Congressional District, which includes SF State, since 2008. (Juliana Yamada / Golden Gate Xpress)

Juliana Yamada

Rep. Jackie Speier speaks at town hall at SF State

The congresswoman is set to retire in November but continues to speak on her passions.

October 4, 2022

Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, spoke about her life and experience in Congress on campus Monday at an hour-long town hall.

More than 60 people gathered in the Humanities Building auditorium to hear Speier and to ask questions relating to gun reform, climate change and more.

Before the town hall, Speier told Xpress that voters would give her work a high score, since she typically received 78% of the vote. Her mindset going into elections was to tell voters what’s at stake. 

Speier wanted to spend a couple more years in Congress but chose to retire out of a commitment to her husband.

“My husband sat me down and said, ‘you know, you’ve been a weekend wife for 20 years, when are we going to spend some time enjoying life?’” Speier said. “So I owe that to him. So my commitment is to come home. But I’m not done. I’m not done being a voice on issues I feel strongly about and I intend to continue to do that.”

Speier has represented the 14th Congressional District since 2008, which spans from southern  San Francisco to East Palo Alto. In December 2021, the congressional district map for 2022 was redrawn, which placed the majority of San Francisco along with SF State in the new District 11 and Daly City to East Palo Alto in the new District 15.

Democratic Reps. David Canepa and Kevin Mullin are locked in as the candidates to replace her spot in the new District 15. Speier endorsed Mullin to replace her back in December 2021, given that he used to be a member of her team as a staffer.

Political Science Professor Amanda Roberti introduced Speier and brought her Women in American Politics class.

Nelson Rivera (left) poses for a photo with Rep. Jackie Speier (right) after a SF State Political Science department town hall on Oct. 3, 2022. Speier is set to retire in November after representing California’s 14th Congressional District, which includes SF State, since 2008. (Juliana Yamada / Golden Gate Xpress)

Sara Moiseff is a student in Roberti’s class. She wasn’t familiar with Speier before the town hall, but she enjoyed their discussion regarding climate change and the inspiration to get students into politics. 

“I liked how she was talking about the younger generation sort of taking up the mantle of politics and focusing on the important issues that are sort of defining the world now,” Moiseff said. “I thought that was really interesting,”

Professor and Chair of International Relations Mahmood Monshipouri asked Speier about what faculty can do to get project funding from the federal government. 

“As a person who focuses on climate change, who teaches on climate change, who wants to write a book, I wanted to hear her saying that there are ways that the federal government can provide funding and support these projects,” Monshipouri said. “And so that was the gist of my question.”

Speier said they were going to check the extent to which money would be distributed.  

In response to an audience member asking about how to get young people interested in politics, Speier compared her experience during last year’s Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection to her experience during the 1978 Jonestown Massacre. 

“I remember placing my cheek on the cold, cold floor thinking, ‘Oh my God, I survived the jungles of Guyana, and I’m going to die in this tabernacle democracy,’” Speier said.

When she leaves office, Speier will continue to speak out about issues she cares deeply about and is in the process of developing a foundation for women and children in San Mateo.

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About the Contributors
Photo of Matthew Cardoza
Matthew Cardoza, Copy Editor
Matthew Cardoza (he/him) is the copy editor for Golden Gate Xpress. He is majoring in journalism and minoring in political science. He was born and raised in San Francisco, and still lives in the city. He was previously a part of The Guardsman, the campus newspaper of City College of San Francisco. Matthew likes to write about politics, culture and interesting events on and off campus. In his free time, he likes to drive around San Francisco, rock climb, play video games and hike in the wilderness.
Photo of Juliana Yamada
Juliana Yamada, Visuals Editor
Juliana Yamada (she/her) is a Japanese American photojournalist with a passion for storytelling through her photos of underrepresented communities, as well as life in San Francisco. Juliana loves that journalism can help others learn more about each other, and she hopes to further that through her photos. In her free time, you can find Juliana at the thrift store, trying new restaurants or taking care of her many houseplants.

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