Speier announces bid for congressional seat

One Jackie Speier supporter said the politician had earned her respect by spending the night in a women’s prison to investigate conditions there. Another said that she’s been a Speier fan for decades but this will be the first time she’ll be living in the right district to vote for her. A third moaned that he didn’t get a “Jackie Speier for Congress” sticker.

“They ran out,” he lamented. “I should have gotten here earlier.”

They counted among hundreds of supporters who gathered at Leo J. Ryan Park in Foster City on Sunday to hear Speier officially announce her bid for Congress. If elected, Speier will represent a congressional district that includes parts of San Francisco and San Mateo counties. The position will be vacated at the end of the year by 14-term Rep. Tom Lantos, who has been diagnosed with esophageal cancer.

Speier already claims the endorsement of 92 elected officials, about 40 of whom stood behind her and her family as she announced her candidacy. The park memorializes former Rep. Ryan, whom Speier accompanied on a fact-finding mission to Jonestown in Guyana 30 years ago, on which they were both shot at and Ryan killed.

This is the second time Speier has run for this seat — 29 years ago, she ran to replace Ryan. She then went on to win seats on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, the California State Assembly and the California state Senate. In 2006, she ran for lieutenant governor of California, but lost to John Garamendi.

Former state Sen. John Burton, one of several people to introduce Speier, said that the lieutenant governor’s seat “wasn’t a job for Jackie Speier.”

“Member of the House of Representatives, the people’s house — that’s a job for Jackie Speier,” Burton said to cheers.

Speier said she’ll spend the coming months meeting voters and asking them to endorse her in the June Democratic primary. No other Democrats have announced their candidacy yet, though state Sen. Leland Yee is seen as a potential candidate.

kworth@examiner.com

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