Welcoming the Honorable Jackie Speier to the House of Representatives

Welcoming the Honorable Jackie Speier to the House of Representatives
by Pete Stark

2008 Congressional Record, Vol. 154, Page H2175 (April 10, 2008).


The SPEAKER. Without objection, the gentleman from California is recognized for 1 minute.

There was no objection.

Mr. STARK. Madam Speaker and my colleagues, as dean of the California delegation, it's my privilege, my honor, and my pleasure to introduce the newest Member of the California delegation, Jackie Speier.

Jackie was overwhelmingly elected by the residents of California's 12th Congressional District this week in a special election to succeed our late and esteemed colleague Tom Lantos. Prior to his passing, Tom endorsed Jackie for the seat, and I know he would share our pride in welcoming her today.

Jackie first came to Congress with me, with my class, as Chief of Staff for Congressman Leo Ryan, who held the same congressional seat that she has just won. She was in Guyana with Leo helping to investigate the Reverend Jim Jones when her boss was assassinated and Jackie was seriously wounded.

She survived and went on to serve as the youngest member ever elected to the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors and served 10 years in the State Assembly, another 8 years in the California Senate.

She comes to us with an outstanding record of legislative victories, which she will, no doubt, extend in the U.S. Congress.

I would like you to join me in welcoming Jackie; her husband, Barry; and her children, Jackson and Stephanie to our congressional family.

Welcome, Jackie.

Madam Speaker, I yield to my assistant dean, the distinguished gentleman from California (Mr. Dreier).

Mr. DREIER. Madam Speaker, I thank my friend for yielding.

I would like to, on behalf of the California GOP delegation, extend a hearty congratulations to our new colleague. Of course, it is with mixed emotions that we're here because we are very still thinking about the life and the contribution of our colleague Tom Lantos but very pleased that you are going to be able to work in the spirit of bipartisanship that the California delegation has pursued for years.

And I will say that while members of your family have been introduced, I have to quickly say, as I just did to you, that I'm sorry that your mother is not here. I hope very much that she's watching on television because we spent a great evening together years ago, and I'm glad that she is doing well. And we are looking forward to working for our State together.

The SPEAKER. The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from California.

Ms. SPEIER. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

It is a real honor to be introduced by the dean of the California delegation, who was, as he mentioned, serving his district with distinction when I was a mere staffer here in the U.S. House of Representatives. And I'm thrilled to be joining the gentlewoman from California, Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, one of my longest and dearest friends, and the gentleman from California, Congressman Thompson, who taught me all I needed to know when I first arrived in the State capital back in 1986.

Madam Speaker, I didn't think it was possible for a person to be filled with both pride and humility at the same time. But that is exactly how I feel today. I am proud to have been chosen by a substantial majority of San Francisco and San Mateo County voters. I'm humbled by the faith they have placed in me and by the awesome legacy this particular seat holds.

Recently, I was introduced as having been elected to replace Tom Lantos. I had to laugh. I was elected to succeed Congressman Lantos. No one will ever replace him.

I also follow in the footsteps of Leo Ryan, who served this Chamber with distinction until he was assassinated 30 years ago, and I am honored to introduce his daughter Erin Ryan, who is in the Members gallery.

I was privileged to serve on Congressman Ryan's staff because I learned from one of the best. He taught me three important lessons: One, question the status quo; two, always listen to the people you represent; and, three, always stand up for what you believe in even if you have to stand alone.

Madam Speaker, I was struck with something while campaigning for this seat. A public servant is never more in tune with her constituents than when she is first running for the office. While holding over 60 community meetings across my district this year, the most common question was, "When will we get out of Iraq?" It was asked by voters across the spectrum: veterans, students, parents, the prosperous, middle class, those still working towards their piece of the American Dream.

The process to bring the troops home must begin immediately. The President wants to stay the course, and a man who wants to replace him suggests we could be in Iraq for a hundred years.

But, Madam Speaker, history will not judge us kindly if we sacrifice four generations of Americans because of the folly of one.

And, Madam Speaker, as passionate as people are about getting out of Iraq, they are also worried, about their jobs, their houses, and their futures. I got an earful from taxpayers outraged that the Fed bailed out Bear Stearns while neighbors are losing their homes to predatory lending practices. A man in a union hall put it simply: "When will our government care as much for Main Street Americans as Wall Street speculators?"

As long as I am here, I will strive to make sure that the voices of Main Street are heard as loudly as the voices of Wall Street.

Madam Speaker, you are an inspiration to me, to America, and to women all over the world. I stand before you eager to learn and ready to help make the laws of the greatest country on Earth reflect its values: fairness, justice, and a guarantee that working men and women, parents, students, seniors, the disabled, and the disaffected, every American, has the right to a seat at the table of opportunity.

Thank you very much.

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).