Sept. 25, 2023
BY DAVE PRICE
Daily Post Editor
Former Peninsula Congresswoman Jackie Speier has made it clear that she’s the kingpin of San Mateo County politics. But at the same time, she’s damaged her own reputation.
She’s decided to come out of retirement and run for a seat on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors. She has a lot of name recognition and she can raise millions, if need be, to capture the seat. So opposing her is pointless.
As a result, her announcement ended the campaigns of Burlingame Councilwoman Emily Beach and Millbrae Councilwoman Gina Papan.
Beach and Papan had each earned the opportunity to run for supervisor after years of service in their city governments. The voters deserved the right to choose between the two of them. Voters could have scrutinized their records and the merit of their positions, and picked a candidate who had the best vision for the county.
Now, that’s not going to happen.
Beach and Papan withdrew from the race on Tuesday. Each issued press releases praising Speier. In other words, rather than complaining, they indicated they’d be good team players.
I’ve got a couple of questions.
Why, at age 73, is Speier returning to politics? She was in Congress for 15 years. Before that, she was in the state Legislature and on the county board of supervisors. Wasn’t that enough time to accomplish whatever legislative goals she had?
And why isn’t she promoting the next generation of women leaders? Speier has always talked about getting more women elected to office. Then, last year, she endorsed Kevin Mullin when he ran for the House seat she was giving up. Given her position on putting women into office, it was conspicuous that she didn’t support Emily Beach, who sought that spot as well.
Speier’s decision to push Papan and Beach aside isn’t helpful to the Democratic Party, which is battling an age problem. The public is saying in polls that it wants younger leaders at a time when Democratic office holders include President Biden (age 80), Sen. Dianne Feinstein (90), and Congresswomen Anna Eshoo (80) and Nancy Pelosi (83).
Graciously supporting either Beach or Papan would have been a way to usher in a new generation of Democratic Party leadership on the Peninsula.
Beach is 49 and Papan is 61.
Speier’s decision to jump into this race, after two accomplished candidates had already started their campaigns, comes off as selfish and egotistical — a final attempt by an aging lawmaker to grab the spotlight.
It’s not too late to withdraw from the race and retire in dignity.
Editor Dave Price’s column appears on Mondays. His email address is [email protected].A
Correction: Speier’s age has been corrected in this version.