Eshoo, 80, was first elected to Congress in 1992 in what became known as the “Year of the Woman” — former senator Barbara Boxer and the late senator Dianne Feinstein were also elected to Congress from California that year. In a video announcing her retirement, Eshoo noted she was the first woman and the first Democrat to represent her district, which has since been renumbered because of redistricting, and that 66 of her bills have been signed into law by five presidents.
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) called Eshoo “a prolific legislator, innovator and barrier breaker,” as well as a personal mentor to him.
“For more than three decades, Rep. Anna Eshoo has ably represented her constituents in the Bay Area during an era of tremendous growth and change,” Jeffries said in a statement, touting her work on expanding health-care access and affordable housing in the Bay Area. “As a Member of Congress, Anna has exemplified Silicon Valley’s hallmark innovation and brilliance at every step of her public service journey.”
For nearly as long as she has held office, Eshoo has served on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, where she has been active on tech policy. She pushed to make changes to Section 230, which shields internet companies from liability for user content, arguing that the law was passed in 1996 when large internet platforms functioned more like community bulletin boards.
Instead, such platforms now use “sophisticated, opaque algorithms to determine what content their users see,” she wrote in a Washington Post op-ed in 2021 about her proposal to remove Section 230 protections from large social media companies if their algorithms amplified content that later contributed to an act of terrorism.
“If companies such as Facebook push us to view certain posts or join certain groups, should they bear no responsibility if doing so leads to real-world violence?” Eshoo wrote then.
Eshoo has also sponsored bills that aim to increase online privacy and to combat domestic violence that is enabled by technology.
In 2018, Eshoo played a small but important role in bringing to light Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations of sexual assault against then-Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh. Ford, who lived in Eshoo’s district, first contacted the lawmaker’s office about Kavanaugh, and the two women met for about 90 minutes in July 2018 to discuss the allegations.
“At the end of the meeting, I told her that I believed her,” Eshoo told The Post then. “In telling her story, you know, there were details to it, and I believed her.”
More than three dozen House members have announced they will not seek reelection next year, either because they are retiring or seeking other office. Several of those are from California, including Democratic Reps. Barbara Lee, Adam B. Schiff, Grace F. Napolitano and Tony Cárdenas.
Eshoo’s district is solidly blue — President Biden won there by nearly 20 points in 2020 — and a race to succeed her is likely to attract several Democratic candidates. California holds a nonpartisan primary, in which all candidates are listed on the same primary ballot, regardless of party, and the top two finishers advance to the general election.
Cristiano Lima contributed to this report.