Nancy Pelosi: Powerhouse in the House

Pelosi’s strength in the House is recognized across parties


Pelosi is no longer seeking to be leader of the Democratic House

Emma Logue, Staff Writer

Nancy Pelosi made history in 2007 when she became the first female Speaker of the House in the House of Representatives. Now, after Republicans gained a majority of the House in the 2022 Midterm elections, Pelosi will step down from the position.

Pelosi has served as Representative for the 12th District of California for 35 years. She will continue to serve as she just was reelected.

Jacquelyn Martin/AP

So, what will this mean? Pelosi’s impact will be felt forever, her leadership will remain an important piece of the history of Congress. But will her stepping down from Democratic leadership have negative effects on women’s representation in government?

In Pelosi’s speech on Thursday, November 17, on the House floor, she told her colleagues plans for the future. “My colleagues, I stand before you as Speaker of the House. As a wife. A mother. A grandmother. A devout Catholic. A proud Democrat. And a patriotic American: a citizen of the greatest Republic in the history of the world.”

Pelosi’s speech detailed her first experiences in Washington, the importance of the job, and her hopes for the next generation in Congress. 

Pelosi is widely known to be a strong force in the House, bringing changes for women in government. The Washington Post details that “Historians largely agree that Pelosi redefined the speakership, and she made history climbing the ranks of Democratic leadership, becoming the first woman to be second in line to the presidency — twice.”

Obama and Pelosi meet after passing the Affordable Care Act (Doug Mills / NYT)

Her abilities in the Congress included bringing the Democratic party together when a new bill being passed was on the line, like the Affordable Care Act in 2010. She has also managed to unite the Democrats, who held a majority before the 2022 Midterms, in the House recently, passing a recent critical democratic agenda.

With Pelosi’s stepping down, some may wonder what negative effects this will have on women’s representation in government.

In a moving moment in the speech, Pelosi stated: “When I came to the Congress in 1987, there were 12 Democratic women. Now, there are over 90. And we want more!”

This proves that women’s representation has come a long way. The New York Times reports 117 women won their elections this 2022 Midterm in the House and Senate.  Democrat and Republican. It is likely a safe bet to say that as society to continues to advance and more women seek government jobs, this number will rise.

President Biden released a statement on Pelosi’s stepping down of leadership. He honored her career and thanked her for her powerful service, ending the statement with “As a nation, we owe her a deep debt of gratitude for her service, her patriotism, and above all, her absolute dignity.”

The Washington Post predicts that Representative Hakeem Jeffries, Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, will take up the position. The article includes that Jeffries “would be the first Black person to lead a party in Congress, and has long been seen as a potential heir when Pelosi stepped down.”

NPR reports Representative Katherine Clark from Massachusetts is also running for leader of the minority.

No matter who becomes the new leader of the Democrats in the House, Pelosi’s impact will remain. Her determination, integrity, and devotion to the country will remain an important piece of House history.