Rep. Speier stresses importance of voting, warns 'democracy is at risk' in final town hall

ByAnser Hassan via KGO logo
Friday, October 28, 2022
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"Democracy is at risk. We take it for granted," said Congresswoman Jackie Speier as she delivers one of her final town halls, bringing an end to her 40-year political career.

BURLINGAME, Calif. (KGO) -- United States Congresswoman Jackie Speier's political career, representing parts of San Francisco and San Mateo counties, spans over 40 years. During that time, she has given hundreds of town halls. But on Thursday night in Burlingame, she delivered one of her last.

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"I have been able to get a lot of legislation passed. Some legislation took me up to 10 years to pass," says Speier. "Sexual assault in the military is now going to be taken out of the chain of command. Pediatric cancer research has gone from 4 percent to 8 percent, because of legislation that I carried."

Speier won her first local election in 1980 for the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors. She says voting in elections matters, explaining how she won her California State Senate race in 1985 by just 555 votes. In 2008, she was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

However, Speier is not running for re-election, in part to spend more time with family. San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa and California Assembly Member Kevin Mullin, advanced from the June primary to a runoff on Nov. 8 to replace her.

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"I recognized it was time to come home. So, that means that I am passing the torch to a generation of leadership," says Speier.

Both candidates say climate change, protecting reproductive and voting rights, rank high on their list of legislative priorities.

Canepa is endorsed by National Nurses United. He has also collected endorsements from several prominent current and former Bay Area lawmakers, including California Board of Equalization Member Malia Cohen, and Shamann Walton, President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

Supervisor Canepa says his leadership as President of the Board of Supervisors during the pandemic would help him in D.C.

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"I have been tested under pressure when it comes to a crisis and a pandemic. And I think that is what we want to do when we get to D.C. Really take that localized experience and bring it to D.C., and craft policies that help people," says Canepa.

Mullin has scored key endorsements from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Governor Gavin Newsom, and Speier herself. He says it is a testament to his voting record.

The economy is another one of his top priorities.

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"Building an economy that truly works for everyone. Lower-wage workers, rebuilding the middle class. The middle class is actually shrinking. We have the data in. The middle class is actually shrinking here on the peninsula," says Mullin.

Congresswoman Spear's message to whoever wins: "You got to be in touch with your constituents. You got to be accessible. You got to meet their needs."

She has a final message for voters as well.

"Democracy is at risk. We take it for granted," says Speier. "The freedom of assembly, the freedom of speech, the freedom of religion. If you want all of those things, you better vote!"

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