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Rep. Speier, survivor of 1978 Jonestown ambush, to retire

Jackie Speier
Posted at 4:53 PM, Nov 16, 2021

WASHINGTON (AP) — Longtime California Rep. Jackie Speier is the latest congressional Democrat to announce retirement from Congress ahead of the 2022 midterm election cycle.

"It's time for me to come home, time for me to be more than a weekend wife, mother and friend," Speier said in a video statement.

Speier is a seven-term congresswoman from the San Francisco Bay Area.

In her statement, Speier urged her constituents to protect democracy.

"It is fragile and vulnerable," she said.

Speier 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.

Ryan and four others were killed on an airstrip by Jones' followers. Speier was shot five times.