Tribute to Assemblywoman Jacqueline Speier

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Tribute to Assemblywoman Jacqueline Speier
by Anna Eshoo

Tribute to Assemblywoman Jacqueline Speier



Tuesday, February 27, 1996

Ms. ESHOO. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor Jackie Speier, Assemblywoman of the 19th District of California, an extraordinary, history-making public servant who has protected the rights of many, with special attention to women, children, and consumers.

Jackie Speier has brought a new meaning to the word "courage" as she has overcome tragedy in her own life and dedicated herself to public service. In November 1978, as legal counsel for the late Congressman, Leo J. Ryan, she accompanied the Congressman to Jonestown, Guyana to investigate charges that people were being held hostage by cult leader Rev. Jim Jones. On November 18, cult followers shot and killed Congressman Ryan while Jackie Speier was struck by five bullets. Later that day 911 cult members died.

Two years later, Jackie Speier became the youngest elected member of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors. She served a second term and was chair of the board in 1985.

In 1986, she became the first women elected to the 19th Assembly District of California, continuing to break new ground legislatively. As the chair of the Assembly Committee on Consumer Protection, Governmental Efficiency, and Economic Development, she led the fight to uncover numerous acts of inefficiency, waste, and abuse of public resources by State bureaucrats who subsequently resigned from office. She also led investigations into unfair and illegal practices of auto manufacturers and dealers, and championed many proconsumer laws.

Jackie Speier's record of having bills signed into law is unprecedented. Among her accomplishments, she has ensured the advancement of women's rights and the protection of children. Some of her legislative achievements include the requirement of insurers to allow women to use their obstetrician-gynecologists as their primary care physicians, creating a voluntary California income tax check-off fund to support breast cancer research, creating the Women's Business Ownership Act and Council, and legislation which would deny professional and drivers licenses to those who fail to pay child support.

Along with her extraordinary work in the legislature, she is the devoted and proud mother of two children. Jackie Speier made legislative history in 1988 when she became the first member of the California Legislature to give birth while in office.

For her accomplishments, she has received a plethora of awards including Legislator of the Year by the California State Bar Association, Women Construction Owners and Executives, Leadership California, National Mobilization Against AIDS, California Women Lawyers, the National Organization for Women, and the Family Service Council.

Mr. Speaker, I have the privilege of Jackie Speier's friendship and have had the honor of working with her as a colleague on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors. Few legislators are as effective, as respected, and as historymaking as Jackie Speier. She is truly one of California's most distinguished women and I ask my colleagues to join me in honoring her today.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).