July 26, 2017

Bearcats Blown Away by Chalk Fest -

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The New Tardy Policy Pilot Is Over -

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

SMHS Chalk Fest is an Instant Successes -

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Chalk Fest is Shaping Up Well This Year -

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Boys Volleyball Season Comes to a Close -

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Bearcat Chefs Compete in Nacho Contest -

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Bearcat Invitational Track Meet a Huge Success -

Monday, May 8, 2017

Concert Band Prepares for Spring Concert -

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Students: “Beware the Banality of a Busy Life” -

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Roger Federer Proves he is the GOAT -

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Coach John Tells Us About Boys Tennis -

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Olaiha Fonua and His Friend Perform at Green Week -

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Eureka, We Built It! -

Thursday, April 20, 2017

International Week Celebrates Diversity -

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

International Week Shines -

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Patent Battle Closed for CRISPR -

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Trump’s New Executive Order Is Not Effective -

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Uber Drives Itself Into a Corner -

Thursday, March 30, 2017

A New Tale That’s As Old As Time -

Thursday, March 30, 2017

“Life” Falls Flat -

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Congresswoman Jackie Speier Holds a Town Hall Meeting

[By: Cindy Yan and Sydnee Tan]

On Feb. 10, Congresswoman Jackie Speier held a Town Hall meeting in the San Mateo Performing Arts Center. She briefly introduced herself, talking about her past political campaigns and affiliations. She also mentioned multiple events in her personal life that thoroughly convinced her to never give up, including incidents involving her past failures and shortcomings. Throughout the entire meeting, she emphasized the importance of younger generations participating in government-related activities, especially in protests and internships.

Congresswoman Speier began the meeting by talking about her early years. Raised in Burlingame, young Speier attended Mercy High School, then went on to the UC Davis and the UC Hastings College of the Law. She participated in her first political campaign when she was 16 years old, as an intern for Congressman Leo Ryan.

Congressman Ryan became involved with a church called the Peoples Temple, and along with a few aides, including Speier, he went to Guyana to investigate alleged human rights abuses by Peoples Temple members. As they were heading toward an airstrip, seven gunmen who had followed them in a tractor opened fire. Congressman Ryan was shot 45 times, becoming the first congressman to be assassinated in the line of duty. Congresswoman Speier herself was shot five times and left for dead on the airstrip; she had to wait 22 hours before help arrived. Leo J. Ryan Park in Foster City is named after and dedicated to the late congressman.

Tragedy in Congresswoman Speier’s life didn’t end there, however. Her husband was killed in an automobile accident on Poplar Avenue in San Mateo while she was pregnant with their second child, a daughter. “I realized that you don’t always win,” she said. “I was broken.”

But Speier slowly recovered from her husband’s passing. “We have to surround ourselves with family, friends and faith to help us move forward in life.”

“Success is never final; failure is never fatal,” said Speier. “I’m a three-time loser,” she continued with a laugh. “This is what a three-time loser looks like.” She explained that she had lost when she ran for student council president in high school, and has lost countless other professional political campaigns.

“Don’t be afraid to fail,” she said. “Don’t let anyone or anything prevent you from doing what you want to do.”

Congresswoman Speier then opened to floor to questions from students in attendance. The first question asked how to combat fake news. “Part of my job is to put the facts out for you, and it’s your job to decide what you believe,” Speier said. She also recommended a reliable news site and fact-checker called Axios. In conclusion, “Don’t take anything at face value.”

A student asked for Congresswoman Speier’s thoughts on  President Trump’s recent actions. “Welcome to public service. You don’t always get what you want,” she said. “And I don’t think President Trump has gotten a grip on that.” She said that she doesn’t think President Trump was prepared to have properly vetted everything with his immigration order. “He sees himself as the CEO of the country, and he can’t keep seeing himself like that.”

Another student asked about what students, as individuals, can do to influence political actions. “Don’t think for a moment that these protests aren’t having an effect,” she said. “There is activism that hasn’t been seen since the 1960s. People are engaged and that’s a really good thing, because engagement helps us protect our democracy.” Congresswoman Speier then talked about how she herself has participated in protests. “I wore a pink pussyhat to the inauguration,” she said, resulting in cheers and applause.

The next question was “What is your position on gun control?” Congresswoman Speier stated that if you are a felon or considered by the court to be mentally unstable, then you should be subjected to background checks before you can purchase a firearm. However, nowadays, people can buy guns freely online without any background check whatsoever. “I’ve been shot five times, I know what it’s like,” she said. “But I respect your right to own a gun.”

Congresswoman Speier then answered a variety of other questions, including questions regarding public education, Obamacare and oil drilling.

“Education is the building block of our country,” she said. “It is fundamentally a state and local function.” On the federal level, though, education is more focused on college loans and less on public schools. “College is too expensive, there’s no question about it. I want to make community college totally free.” At this, the audience applauded at her words once again.

“Recently, at town halls, they’re talking about the Affordable Care Act,” also known as Obamacare. The Affordable Care Act will be “better, stronger, and more cost-effective,” added Speier.

A student also brought up oil drilling in federal parks. In the U.S.,“there’s an interesting phenomenon,” Congresswoman Speier said. We have federal lands that are protected, like nature reserves, but the government still allows oil drilling near or on them, which is “ridiculous.”

As the meeting was nearing an end, she wrapped it up with a few words. “I want to instill hope in all of you,” she said. “There is nothing to fear.” She also notified everyone that there is an internship program at her office that students can always participate in.

Congresswoman Jackie Speier’s Town Hall meeting on Feb. 10 was a very informative experience for all the students that attended. We hope that Congresswoman Speier will visit us again soon!

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