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November 13, 2006
Brendan Daly/Jennifer Crider

Pelosi to New House Members: Democrats and Republicans Have a Shared Oath to Serve Our Country Together

Washington, D.C. – House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi spoke this afternoon at the New Member Orientation in the Cannon House Office Building.  Below are her remarks:

“To our new Members – congratulations.  You are joining one of the great democratic bodies in the history of the world.  The House of Representatives was intended to be an institution of innovation and a marketplace of ideas.  We must return it to that place, and you must be the vanguard of that effort.

“A new Congress is an invigorating time, fresh with promise.  As you look around the Capitol, you see statues and portraits of people who have each, in their own way, changed this nation.  The question for each of you is: ‘How will I change this nation?’

“I know that the answers each of you finds to those questions will not only define your service, but make our nation stronger in the process.    

“In this room are people who have previously served as a sheriff, a journalist, an Admiral in the Navy, state legislators, lawyers, corporate executives, and a former professional football quarterback.  I see people of all races, religions – representing all regions of our country.  Your diversity is your strength. 

“Today we gather in the place intended to be one of our nation’s greatest forums for debate.  Just as our Founding Fathers intended, we will come here to discuss the issues of our time.  But also as our founders intended, we must do so in a way that respects all voices of this great body.

“Democrats have campaigned on a platform of integrity, civility, and fiscal discipline.  These are the principles by which we intend to govern.

“As our first order of business, we intend to restore honesty and openness to Congress.  With laws that will sever the link between legislation and lobbyist, we will demand the highest ethics from our public servants, and deliver for all the American people. 

“We will restore civility to our debate.  As Speaker it will be my solemn duty to serve not just one party, but the whole House of Representatives.  To that end, we will restore bipartisanship to the administration of the House, re-establish regular order for considering legislation, and ensure the rights of the minority – whichever party is in the minority.  The voice of every American has a right to be heard, and that is what the American people expect and deserve.

“Democrats and Republicans are on different sides of the aisle, but we have a shared oath and a solemn obligation to serve our country together for our children and future generations.  Our obligations – to make our country safe, our economy strong, our institutions fair, our society just, and our people educated and healthy – are remarkable responsibilities and enormous opportunities.

“We all believe that public service is a noble calling.  We all take the same oath to ‘protect and defend’ our country.  We all pledge allegiance to the same flag.  We all love the same country.  So we must do more than praise civility and respect in our speeches.  We must live these virtues in our words and deeds every day we serve.  The American people expect it.  But even more, they deserve it.

“Again, congratulations to each of you on your election to Congress.”

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“ Democrats are united in presenting a New Direction for America, one that will make our nation as strong as its people, one that brings opportunity, security, and prosperity to all Americans. ”

Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi

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