U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Thursday that she will not seek a Democratic leadership role in the new Congress, but instead she will carry out her term as San Francisco’s representative.
She told the assembly that “the hour has come for a new generation to lead the Democratic caucus that I so deeply respect.”
President Joe Biden had urged Pelosi, 82, to stay as party leader. But after nearly two decades in House leadership positions, she was ready to pass the baton.
Pelosi called the House “sacred ground” and the “heart of American democracy.”
In 2007, when most Americans didn’t know who Nancy Pelosi was, she stepped to the fore as the Democrats’ leader in Congress.
As the first woman to hold the position of House Speaker, parties and celebrations went on for several days in DC.
In honor of her Italian heritage, Italian pastries were flown in from a bakery in Baltimore’s Little Italy where she grew up. A special morning Mass was held for her in DC.
“We’ve waited over 200 years for this time,” Pelosi told a gathering of power women gathered for an afternoon tea on a chilly January day in 2007. “America’s working women, women working at home, whatever they choose to do, they have a friend in the Capitol of the United States.”
On Thursday, she reminded her supporters that “American Democracy is majestic but it is fragile.”
Many of us here have witnessed its fragility first hand, tragically in the chamber,” Pelosi said. “And so Democracy must be forever defended from forces that wish it harm. Last week the American people spoke. And their voices were raised in defense of liberty, under the rule of law, and of Democracy itself.”
Pelosi noted when she was first elected to Congress in 1987, there were only 12 in the House of Representatives. “Now there are over 90 and we want more,” she said. “The Democratic Caucus will now be 75 percent women, people of color and LGBTQ. And we have brought more voices to the decision making table.”
In her next role, Pelosi said she was honored to simply speak for the people of San Francisco.
“There is no greater official honor for me,” she said.