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Jackie Speier: Motivational speaker

speier.jpgMany had wondered what was next for former state Sen. Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough, who lost last year’s Democratic primary for lieutenant governor and then was termed out of office at year’s end. Now we have our answer: She’s among the four authors of “This Is Not the Life I Ordered: 50 ways to keep your head above water when life keeps dragging you down,” a “collection of stories, wisdom, and practical advice” in which “readers will meet four ordinary women who have faced extraordinary life challenges,” according to the book’s Web site.

Speier was gravely wounded in the 1978 assassination of her boss, Congressman Leo Ryan, by People’s Temple members near Jonestown, Guyana. Years later, Speier was serving in the Assembly when her husband, Dr. Steven Sierra, was killed in an automobile accident; she was pregnant with their second child at the time.

“A reporter once jokingly referred to our collection of misfortunate events as the female version of the book of Job, almost expecting a hoard of locusts ready to descend in our midst at any moment!” says an excerpt from the book. “Yet, we do not view our lives with sadness or remorse. We see them as gifts, filled with events that have helped us develop a razor-sharp sense of what counts and what simply doesn’t.”

The book’s Web site features blurbs from people including journalist Linda Ellerbee, author Amy Tan, actress Rita Moreno and political pundit Arianna Huffington, and says the four authors — Speier, Deborah Collins Stephens, Michealene Cristini Risley and Jan Yanehiro — are available to be booked for speaking engagements at corporate conferences, executive retreats and so forth.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.