Jackie Speier (D-CA-12)

Jackie Speier California District 12

Jackie Speier, Biography from House.gov

Biography of Congresswoman Jackie Speier

Congresswoman Jackie Speier (pronounced SPEAR), a life-long resident of the San Francisco Bay Area, represents California’s 12th District which covers the southwest quarter of San Francisco and most of the adjacent San Mateo County. She was first elected in April, 2008 after serving 18 years in the California State Legislature where she authored over 300 bills signed into law by Republican and Democratic governors. Key laws she authored include the nation’s strongest measure to protect the privacy of banking and credit card customers; numerous protections for reproductive health rights and child support measures that provided for more equitable collection formulas and  that curtailed the rate of delinquent payments. She also led numerous committee investigations of illegal and wasteful state expenditures.

Jackie serves on two key committees in the House of Representatives: the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform; and the Committee on Homeland Security where she is the Ranking Member on the Subcommitee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence.

Jackie’s insight on the San Bruno pipeline disaster of September 2010 have prompted her to author the National Pipeline Safety Bill that seeks to minimizing the risk of future pipeline failures. She is also working hard to address the needs of veterans and has introduced a bill that will attempt to reduce the rise of military suicides by providing mental screening.

Jackie continues her life-long commitment to protect consumers from unsafe products. She introduced a bill that will make all children’s products safe by banning harmful levels of heavy metals like cadmium. She triggered the recall of 12 million drinking glasses sold by McDonalds as part of a promotional scheme. These colorfully painted glasses, touting the movie characters from “Shrek,” were found to contain levels of cadmium that may present a health risk to children.

She was instrumental in the fact finding behind vehicle safety recall issues and misleading investment products that fueled a global financial meltdown. She fought to include language in the financial reform bill to ensure that investment advisers and brokers will have to look out for the consumer’s interests—not their own. She championed language that prohibits credit rating agencies from advising the firms they rate on how to structure their securities to get higher ratings; that creates an independent and strong consumer financial protection agency; and that sets a cap on the debt-to-asset ratio of 15:1 for systemically-risky financial institutions.

She has introduced legislation to require new vehicles to be outfitted with a “black box” that would record a vehicle’s safety performance in an accident. The bill also requires black box data to be shared with federal regulators—prior to this bill, companies like Toyota kept black box data secret.

Prior to her election to the State Legislature in 1986, she served for six years on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisor. She graduated with a B.A. in Political Science from UC Davis and received her JD from UC Hastings College of the Law.

Jackie was the first California state legislator to give birth while in office and she was the third state lawmaker in history to be nominated by both Democrats and Republicans in a primary election.

Jackie is married to Barry Dennis and has a son, Jackson, a recent college graduate; and a daughter, Stephanie, a high school junior.

Biography from Jackie Speier for Congress

Jackie Speier was sworn into Congress on April 10, 2008 to fill the unexpired term of the late Congressman Tom Lantos.  She was reelected to Congress in 2010 with 75% of the vote.

Jackie was born in San Francisco’s Sunset District and attended public schools in South San Francisco before entering Burlingame’s Mercy High School. While studying at University of California Davis, she interned for State Assemblyman Leo J. Ryan in his Sacramento office. After graduating, she joined Ryan’s Washington, DC staff upon his election to Congress. She returned to San Francisco for her JD degree from UC’s Hastings College of the Law then rejoined Congressman Ryan as his legal advisor.

In November, 1978 Jackie and the congressman escorted a group to Jonestown, Guyana to investigate claims that constituents were being held against their will at the People’s Temple by Reverend Jim Jones. While Speier and Ryan escorted defecting cult members to their plane, they were ambushed by gunmen. Congressman Ryan and four others were killed, including an NBC reporter and cameraman and a photographer for the San Francisco Examiner. Jackie was shot five times and left for dead.

Earlier this year she told the Washington Post, “I think the experience in Guyana just made me more fearless… Once you have looked death in the eye, you’re just not nearly that afraid.” In eighteen years in the California State Assembly and Senate, Jackie Speier authored more than 300 bills that were signed into law by both Democratic and Republican Governors. Her four-year crusade to protect consumers’ financial privacy from the invasive practices of banking and insurance companies led to the California Financial Privacy Act, which was hailed by Consumers Union as “The strongest financial privacy legislation in the nation.”

Unfortunately, her 2005 bill to regulate sub-prime loans did not succeed. Who’s to say how California’s real estate landscape would look today if it had?

Fortunately, Jackie sits on the two most crucial committees in Congress.  In the 112th Congress, she will serve on the Oversight and Government Reform and Homeland Security Committees.  Recently, Jackie was appointed Ranking Member of the Counterrorism and Intelligence subcommittee of the Homeland Security Committee.

When asked for her philosophy of life, Jackie often quotes Winston Churchill: “Success is never final and failure is never fatal.”

Do you know where you still on the political spectrum? See “Political Beliefs, Where Are You” to find out where you stand.

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