The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) welcomes San Francisco Bay Area Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA) as a new Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues, noting that her addition, as an American of Armenian heritage, will expand its bipartisan leadership, build upon its past accomplishments, and help chart an assertive, pro-active legislative course for the future.
Among the key public policy matters set to be advanced by Congresswoman Speier are priorities, supported by the ANCA, to secure a U.S.-Armenia Double Tax Treaty – an initiative being actively pursued by House Financial Services Committee member Congressman Brad Sherman. This long overdue accord, when adopted, will remove a key barrier to the growth of bilateral economic relations. She is also exploring prospects for a second Millenium Challenge Account (MCA) compact with Armenia. Among her other priorities is backing the continuation of direct U.S. aid to Artsakh, initiated in 1997 with the ANCA’s support. She is also working to put in place the legislative and regulatory framework for direct flights from airports in the United States to Zvartnotz airport in Yerevan, Armenia.
“We are deeply gratified that Congresswoman Speier is bringing her can-do track record to the table as a new Co-Chair of the Congressional Armenian Caucus. She is, as our ANCA community in California has long known, a pro-active and relentless legislative leader,” said ANCA Chairman Raffi Hamparian. She joins current Co-Chairs Robert Dold (R-IL) and Frank Pallone, and new Co-Chairman David Valadao (R-CA) in the leadership of the Caucus. The new Vice Co-Chairs are Reps. David Trott (R-MI) and Adam Schiff (D-CA).
Jackie Speier represents California’s 14th Congressional District, which stretches from the southern portion of San Francisco through San Mateo County to Redwood City. She is a tireless advocate for women’s rights, the public good, and the security of Americans. She was named to Newsweek’s list of 150 “Fearless Women” in the world.
She serves on the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) as the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations, and on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI).
Rep. Speier first ran for Congress in 1979, facing a crowded field in a special election for a seat formerly held by Congressman Leo J. Ryan, for whom Speier had served as a legislative aide.
The special election had been called after Ryan was shot to death in Jonestown, at the compound of the People’s Temple, a cult in Guyana that had previously been based in Ryan’s district of San Francisco. Speier traveled with Ryan on that trip in 1978 in an attempt to rescue some of the cult’s 900 members. But Speier was left nearly lifeless herself on the airport tarmac after being shot five times at point blank range.
Speier needed multiple surgeries after the tragedy, and while recovering she realized she had a choice to make: Did she want to be a victim or did she want to be a survivor? Speier chose to be a survivor.
Jackie Speier received a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California at Davis, and a J.D. from UC Hastings College of the Law.