WASHINGTON (AP) — Longtime California Rep. Jackie Speier said Tuesday that she will not seek reelection, becoming the latest Democrat to announce their retirement from Congress ahead of a fraught 2022 midterm election cycle.
The seven-term congresswoman from the San Francisco Bay Area said in a video message that it was an “extraordinary privilege” to serve. But Speier said that after nearly 40 years in public office at the local, state and federal level, it was time to step aside.
“It’s time for me to come home,” Speier said. “Time for me to be more than a weekend wife, mother and friend.”
Speier recalled how she was inspired to pursue a career in public service after she accompanied her boss, Rep. Leo J. Ryan, on a flight to Guyana in a disastrous 1978 attempt to rescue 900 followers of the cult leader Jim Jones.
The trip ended in tragedy. Ryan and four others were shot to death and Speier herself was shot five times.
“I vowed that if I survived, I would dedicate my life to public service,” Speier said in the video. “I lived. and I served.”
Speier is the 14th House Democrat to indicate that they will not seek reelection in 2022. Most have cited reasons beyond politics for their decisions, like a the desire to spend more time with family, or an interest in allowing someone else to serve.
But the pileup of retirements is a foreboding sign for Democrats, underscoring the reality that party that wins the White House typically loses congressional seats in the following midterm elections. More members are expected to depart as they contend with the reality that they could find themselves in the minority.
Speier went on to serve for six years on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors and 18 years in the California Legislature before her first election to Congress in 2008.