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Speier lauds student loan bill

Rep. Jackie Speier released a statement today praising the House’s passage of the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, which would overhaul the process by which student loans are issued.

“This legislation will make it possible for more Americans to go to college, for more graduates to leave college without crippling student loan debts, and for families to better plan for their children’s future,” Speier said.

According to Speier’s office, the billl “expands access to financial aid programs, saves tax dollars by eliminating costly guarantees to private lenders, increases the amount of Pell Grants and provides real-world career training through new partnerships between universities, community colleges, businesses and job training programs.”

“President Obama challenged us in his State of the Union address to make America the leader in the number of college graduates by 2020,” Speier’s statement continued. “This bill not only does that but allows students to borrow money at a dependable rate so that they are not overburdened by debt when they graduate. On top of it all, taxpayers save billions of dollars that were previously paid to private lenders in guarantees for unpaid loans. …

“Our entire nation benefits every time someone formerly unable to attend college is given the chance. This bill expands access to higher education by lowering interest rates on subsidized, need-based federal student loans, expanding the popular Perkins loan program to every U.S. college campus and creating a shorter and simpler federal financial aid form to make applying for financial aid easier.”

Posted on Thursday, September 17th, 2009
Under: Democratic Party, Education, Jackie Speier, San Mateo County | No Comments »

Speier, Eshoo, Yee remarks on death of Sen. Ted Kennedy

Statement from Rep. Jackie Speier’s office:

“The passing of Senator Kennedy is a loss for his family, our nation and the political process itself. Born to a family of power and privilege, Senator Kennedy never stopped working for the least of society. He wore his passion on his sleeve and never cared about the politically expedient route or whom he might upset if the cause he was championing was what was best for Americans. My thoughts and prayers are with his family, in particular my colleague Congressman Patrick Kennedy. I’ll say an extra prayer tonight for the future health of decorum and cooperation at every level of the political process. While no one was more true to his progressive roots, Ted Kennedy was able to forge coalitions and work with his opponents better than any lawmaker in our history. All of us in public life should remember what Senator Kennedy taught us: There is no weakness in working with those with whom we disagree and no virtue in refusing to listen to opposing points of view. His courage is an inspiration to me and his wisdom and leadership will be sorely missed.”

Rep. Anna Eshoo:

“The nation lost a great patriot and I lost a dear friend. Senator Kennedy inspired me to serve in public office, and his wise counsel and steadfast support has sustained me throughout my public and personal life.

“His courage through tragedy and record of legislative accomplishments is unsurpassed in modern American history. I join my constituents and people around the world in remembering him and praying for his beloved family.”

State Sen. Leland Yee:

“Like many Americans who share his principles and as someone who benefited from his efforts, I feel a deep personal sadness at the passing of Senator Ted Kennedy. We have lost one of our greatest champions for universal health care, civil rights and education. We have lost a fierce warrior and an iconic voice for immigrants, women, the disabled and working families. He was the moral standard for generations of lawmakers, and his influence went far beyond Massachusetts, the halls of Congress, and even the borders of our nation. For decades, Ted Kennedy, like his brothers, ‘saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it.’ It will take all of us to carry forward the torch that Senator Kennedy so proudly and courageously held for so many years. As we continue the work, the cause, the hope and the dream, his legacy lives forever. My thoughts go out to the Kennedy family and to all Americans on our common loss.”

Posted on Thursday, August 27th, 2009
Under: Anna Eshoo, Democratic Party, Jackie Speier, Leland Yee, San Mateo County | No Comments »

Speier photos

Here are some photos of Rep. Jackie Speier’s recent meetings with constituents that didn’t make it into the paper. Above, Mario Pellegrin, of Montara, questions Speier about health care reform Sunday at a town hall meeting held outside at Farallone View Elemenatary School in Montara. (Jim Stevens/Bay Area News Group)

Speier at the Hot Harvest Nights farmers market Thursday in San Carlos. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

From left to right, Gail Sredanovic, of Menlo Park, Ruth Robertson, of Los Altos, and Jane Emery, of San Jose, all from the Raging Grannies, sing in support of health care reform at Hot Harvest Nights. (Nhat V. Meyer)

Howard Weisberg, of San Mateo, holds up his sign in support of health care reform while waiting for Speier at Hot Harvest Nights. (Nhat V. Meyer)

Sophia Dew, 9, left, talks with Speier on Wednesday at the San Mateo County Fair. (John Green/Bay Area News Group)

Speier signs an autograph book for San Francisco resident Leo Pribble at the fair. (John Green)

Posted on Tuesday, August 25th, 2009
Under: Democratic Party, Health care, Jackie Speier, San Carlos, San Mateo, San Mateo County | No Comments »

Health care call

Rep. Jackie Speier is holding a town hall meeting by telephone tonight on health care reform. The call will begin at 6:50 p.m. and run for about an hour. To listen in or comment, call 877-229-8493. The PIN number is 13867.

We’ll be listening in as well for Speier’s take on the health care debate and to see if she gets any wacky death panel questions or other such nonsense.

For more on Speier’s position on reform, here’s a recent statement.

Posted on Tuesday, August 11th, 2009
Under: Democratic Party, Health care, Hillsborough, Jackie Speier, San Mateo County | No Comments »

Speier applauds decision to honor Harvey Milk

A couple bits of news out of the office of Rep. Jackie Speier today. First, she released a statement in response to President Barack Obama’s decision to bestow the Presidential Medal of Freedom on late San Francisco Supervisor and gay rights trailblazer Harvey Milk, who is among 16 recipients of the medal this year:

“I salute President Obama for bestowing our nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, on San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk, a civil rights pioneer who dedicated — and sacrificed — his life so that others might live in a world free of discrimination.

“My hope now is that, along with honoring the man, we also honor his work by making the United States of America a land of true equality and freedom. Harvey Milk will receive his real and rightful honor when our nation sheds the last vestiges of our intolerant past and recognize that all individuals are endowed with the same freedom to marry whom they wish, to seek employment judged on their qualifications and not their orientation, and to live equally with their neighbors in the pursuit of happiness and community.”

On a less serious note, Speier’s office passed along some items in The Hill, which recently profiled Speier’s communications director, Mike Larsen, who until recently was working as a comedy writer in Los Angeles, and included Speier and one of her assistants, Gina Gribow, on its list of the 50 “Most Beautiful” people on Capitol Hill.

Posted on Thursday, July 30th, 2009
Under: Democratic Party, Jackie Speier, San Mateo County | No Comments »

Eshoo on health care reform

So here, finally, is an account of our recent conversation with Rep. Anna Eshoo on the issue of health care reform.

We wrote on June 10 that Eshoo had been pilloried as a flunky for the health insurance industry by a writer at The Daily Kos, the prominent liberal blog.

Eshoo had been quoted as saying there aren’t enough votes in Congress for a singer-payer option, which is progressives’ great hope for establishing univeral health coverage.

(It should be noted that since we spoke with Eshoo, prospects for the inclusion of a robust public option in a health care reform bill, which seemed dire, appear to have improved.)

Eshoo — who as a member of the Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Health will have a hand in shaping the House bill — was adamant when we spoke that the bill will contain a public option and that everyone will be included, meaning coverage will be universal. Critics, however, say that, unless the option is single-payer, meaning the government would set up a single fund to cover the expenses of those involved in a government plan, it is unlikely to actually achieve full coverage.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009
Under: Anna Eshoo, Barack Obama, Democratic Party, Health care, Republican Party, San Mateo County | 1 Comment »

Speier votes no on war-funding bill

Spokesman Mike Larsen has confirmed that Rep. Jackie Speier voted against a $106 billion bill Tuesday to fund the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Speier did so despite some “mild” lobbying from the White House and the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, said Larsen, who noted that ending the war in Iraq and bringing home the troops was her top issue when campaigning for office last year.

“This didn’t seem to be much different than plans in the past,” Larsen said. “She felt it was a vote for another open-ended war.”

The bill still needs to pass the Senate.

Posted on Tuesday, June 16th, 2009
Under: 2008 Congressional Race, Barack Obama, Democratic Party, Jackie Speier | No Comments »

Eshoo scolded for single-payer stance

Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, is the subject of some harsh criticism from blogger “sworddance” over at the Daily Kos, the liberal political blog, for ruling out the idea of a single-payer option before the process of crafting a bill to overhaul the health care system has even begun.

Eshoo apparently feels there aren’t enough votes in Congress for the single-payer option, further evidence for disappointed progressives that hope for true universal health care at this time is all but dead.

Sworddance points out that Eshoo received roughly $725,000 in campaign contributions from the health care industry in the 2008 cycle and claims: “Rep. Anna Eshoo backs insurance companies over humans.”

We’ll give Eshoo’s office a call later this week for more on her position on the single-payer option.

Tonight at 7, Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, is holding her telephone town-hall meeting on health care. To participate, call 877-229-8493 and enter the number 13867 when prompted.

Posted on Wednesday, June 10th, 2009
Under: 2008 Congressional Race, Anna Eshoo, Democratic Party, San Mateo County | 1 Comment »

Speier to hold health care meeting by phone

Rep. Jackie Speier will hold a town-hall meeting by telephone tomorrow with constituents on the subject of health care reform.

The Obama administration’s attempt to overhaul the nation’s health care system is expected to heat up this summer. Speier will be taking calls from members of California’s 12th Congressional District from 7 to 8 p.m. to solicit their views and concerns. To participate, visit www.speier.house.gov and click on “Healthcare House Call,” e-mail your name and phone number to CA12Housecall@mail.house.gov, or call (650) 342-0300.

Posted on Tuesday, June 9th, 2009
Under: Barack Obama, Democratic Party, Jackie Speier, San Mateo County | No Comments »

Reaction to Prop. 8

Rep. Jackie Speier and state Sen. Leland Yee have issued statements in response to the California Supreme Court’s ruling on Prop. 8.

Speier:

“I am disappointed in the decision by the California Supreme Court but not surprised. ‘Equal protection under the law’ is the most basic of our constitutional rights, yet history has shown that it never occurs without a fight. Marriage equality will happen soon enough, but only if those of us who care deeply about the issue continue to educate our neighbors that this is not about special rights, but simple fairness.”

Yee:

“A year ago, our Supreme Court reaffirmed the highest ideals of our republic. Today, it is only Justice Moreno in his dissent who now stands on the right side of history. Proposition 8 and the decision reached by the Court today weaken our Constitution. All minorities could now be at risk of losing fundamental rights by the will of the majority — a concept completely counter to the equal protection clause.

“For far too long, our nation has unfairly allowed state-sanctioned discrimination. We must not stop this effort until all loving relationships and all families are fully recognized with the rights, privileges, and joys of marriage.”

Posted on Tuesday, May 26th, 2009
Under: Activism, Democratic Party, Jackie Speier, Leland Yee, San Mateo County | No Comments »