Welcome to some background on a central figure in US politics. Politician
Nancy Pelosi became the first female Democratic leader of the House of
Representatives and the first female speaker of the House.
Who Is Nancy Pelosi?
March 26, 1940, in Baltimore, Maryland, Nancy Pelosi continued her family's
tradition of being involved in politics. She began as a volunteer and gradually
moved up the ranks, making the leap to public office in a special election for
California's Eighth District in 1987. She became the first female Democratic
leader of the House of Representatives and the first female speaker of the
Early Life and Career
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was born Nancy D'Alesandro on March 26, 1940, in
Baltimore, Maryland. Pelosi carries on the family tradition of being involved in
politics. Her father served in Congress and was the mayor of Baltimore for 12
years, and her brother Thomas later served as mayor of Baltimore as well.
graduated from Trinity College in Washington, D.C., in 1962. While a student
there, she met Paul Pelosi. The two later married and moved to San Francisco.
They had five children: Nancy Corinne, Christine, Jacqueline, Paul and
on raising her family, Pelosi got into politics slowly, starting out as a
volunteer for the Democratic Party. She hosted parties and helped with
campaigns. Pelosi rose up in the party ranks, serving as a California
representative to the Democratic National Committee from 1976 to 1996. She also
served as the state and northern chair of the California Democratic Party.
Pelosi made the leap to public office, winning a special election for
California's Eighth District, which includes San Francisco. As a member of the
House of Representatives, she has served on the Appropriations Committee and
the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Pelosi has been a strong
supporter of increased funding for health research and for other health care
and housing programs and initiatives. She is also an advocate for human rights
and the environment.
has emerged as one of the leading Democrats in Congress. In 2002, Pelosi was
selected to be the Democratic leader of the House of Representatives, making
her the first woman in history to do so. Four years later, she again broke new
ground for women in U.S. politics. After the Democrats won majorities in both
the House and the Senate in the 2006 midterm elections, Pelosi was chosen to
become the first woman to take the post of speaker of the House.
Speaker of the House
leader of the Democratic Party in the House under a Republican president,
Pelosi was sometimes a divisive figure. A vocal critic of President George W. Bush's stance on the war in Iraq, she
advocated for the withdrawal of troops from the region. Pelosi found herself at
the center of a controversy in 2009, when the CIA asserted that she had been
made aware of its use of waterboarding of terrorism suspects—a technique that
Pelosi had vocally opposed. Pelosi denied the CIA's claims.
lobbied for the development of better paying jobs, access to college education
and affordable health care for all, and revised energy policy that focused on
cleaner, more efficient domestic alternatives.
after winning the Speaker post, Pelosi enjoyed another personal highlight by
becoming a grandmother for the sixth time: Her daughter, Alexandra, gave birth
to a son, Paul Michael Vos, on November 13, 2006.
election of Barack Obama in 2008, Pelosi was in position to
work with a president of the same party. She was instrumental in pushing for
the health care reform legislation that became the Affordable Care Act
(Obamacare) in 2010, a position that earned her more criticism from the GOP.
remained House speaker until November 2010, when Republicans gained control of
the House and elected John Boehner to the role, relegating Pelosi to
As the House's
top Democrat, Pelosi endured criticism for her party's losses and challenges to
her leadership. Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan sought to replace her as minority
leader in 2016, but was unsuccessful.
February 7, 2018, Pelosi delivered a marathon speech on the House floor to
protest legislation that lacked protection for "Dreamers," the
children of undocumented immigrants. Taking advantage of the "magic-minute
rule," which allows House leaders to talk for as long as they want, Pelosi
read testimonies from Dreamers and recited Bible passages, in all standing for
some eight hours and seven minutes, a House record dating back to at least
Clancy's comment: I always admire women who succeed in a 'men's club environment', no matter what their politics are. Go, Nancy!