Jackie Speier may be stepping into mostly foreign territory when she arrives in Washington, D.C., but analysts and her future co-workers say the local politician will take to Congress “like a duck to water.”
Speier had mostly developed her distinguished political career in California and now faces the challenge of interacting with some of the nation’s most powerful politicians on an everyday basis.
“Jackie Speier is a natural for the House of Representatives,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein said. “She’s had a long and distinguished career in public service, including two terms in the state Senate. I think that’s the best possible training ground for the House.”
Speier will have a friend in Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, who she served with for four years on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors in the early ’80s. Eshoo said that, while Speier had never held office in Washington, she has the advantage of knowing so many of the 54 California lawmakers in Congress.
“I can tell you that there are many who are looking forward to her arrival,” Eshoo said. “She’s a furious legislator. She’s tenacious, and you need tenacity to work in Congress. In the House, you need at least 217 people to agree with you in order to get a bill through.”
Speier not only has “huge” shoes to fill by replacing the late Rep. Tom Lantos, she also faces the challenge of entering Congress without the comfort of a newly elected class of representatives, said Graeme Boushey, assistant professor of political science at San Francisco State University.