Nancy Pelosi made history in 2007, breaking the marble ceiling to become the first woman to serve as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. As the highest-ranking elected woman in American history, she is second in the line of presidential succession.
Building consensus across the aisle and within the diverse House Democratic Caucus, Speaker Pelosi has proved to be a strong, pragmatic, and effective leader. With Speaker Pelosi at the helm, the 110th Congress has built an impressive record that has focused on the priorities of the American people and brought needed change to Washington and across the country.
In August, Speaker Pelosi will serve as Permanent Chair of the Democratic National Convention in Denver.
New Direction Agenda
After an historic start to the 110th Congress, Speaker Pelosi shepherded through a “100 Hours” effort that began the New Direction Agenda to make America safer, restore the American Dream, and restore civility and integrity to our government.
The first session of this Congress saw significant accomplishments to improve the lives of Americans. The passage of the recommendations of the independent, 9/11 Commission, an increase in the minimum wage for the first time in 10 years, and making college more affordable were among the early achievements. Speaker Pelosi and her leadership team also began to change the way business is done in Washington by reinstating pay as you go budgeting and enactment of historic ethics and lobby reform.
Though stymied by the Bush Administration and its Republican allies, the House also acted to invest in stem cell research, and thus give hope to American families, and to reduce the cost of needed prescription drugs for America’s seniors and people with disabilities.
Speaker Pelosi recognizes that the first responsibility of Congress is to keep the American people safe. On the issue of our national security, the House has worked to responsibly change the direction in the war in Iraq, hold the Bush Administration accountable, and have the Iraqis take responsibility for its own government. For our troops and our veterans, Congress is strengthening our military readiness and honoring its pledge to our veterans and their families with the largest increase in veterans’ health care funding in the 77-year history of the Veterans Administration.
Speaker Pelosi ended the first session by marshalling forces and working with all parts of the Congress to enact an historic energy security bill. For the first time in 32 years, the Congress increased fuel efficiency standards of vehicles, promoting jobs here at home, reducing dependence on foreign oil, and combating global warming.
These accomplishments have earned Speaker Pelosi praise from many Congressional observers. Larry Sabato, a professor of political science at the University of Virginia, described her as a “very positive symbol for the Democratic Party.”
In early 2008, Speaker Pelosi spearheaded the Congressional effort to enact a bipartisan economic stimulus bill to provide help to Americans who are struggling in an uncertain economy. This year, Speaker Pelosi continues to address America’s needs with a long term economic effort focused on creating good-paying jobs here at home and providing needed health care, education, and infrastructure improvements. Speaker Pelosi continues to be a leader in combating global warming and preserving our planet for future generations.
As the longest-serving member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Pelosi authored legislation to create the bipartisan, independent 9/11 Commission and led congressional reviews of the U.S. intelligence and security agencies.
As a senior member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, Congresswoman Pelosi was a leading proponent for women, children and families, and the disabled. She won increased funding for breast cancer research, doubled the budget for National Institutes of Health, and is a vigorous supporter of life-saving stem cell research.
Since her first term in Congress, Pelosi has been a leader in the fight against HIV/AIDS. One of her first legislative victories was the creation of the Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS program. She has promoted increased funding for research and treatment that has extended the lives of millions, and supported efforts to develop an HIV vaccine.
Throughout her career, Pelosi has led bipartisan efforts for international human rights in all parts of the world, including China, Central America, Tibet and most recently for the people of Darfur.
For six years, Pelosi served on the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct (Ethics Committee).
One of Nancy Pelosi’s proudest accomplishments was assuring the preservation of the Presidio of San Francisco as the nation's largest urban national park. This law created a public-private partnership to ensure the Presidio would achieve self-sufficiency while providing access to the park and its exquisite beauty. A leader on the environment at home and abroad, she authored the provision in the International Development and Finance Act of 1989 requiring the World Bank and other development banks to review and publicize the potential environmental impacts of development projects they fund. This “Pelosi Amendment” has become a significant tool for indigenous, nongovernmental organizations around the world.
Nancy Pelosi comes from a strong family tradition of public service. Her late father, Thomas D'Alesandro, Jr., served as Mayor of Baltimore for 12 years, after representing the city for five terms in Congress. Her brother, Thomas D'Alesandro III, also served as Mayor of Baltimore.
The Speaker graduated from Trinity College in Washington, D.C. She and her husband, Paul Pelosi, a native of San Francisco, have five grown children: Nancy Corinne, Christine, Jacqueline, Paul and Alexandra, and seven grandchildren. While raising her five children prior to her election to Congress, Pelosi served in a number of positions including Chair of the California Democratic Party. She has represented California’s Eighth District, which includes most of San Francisco, since 1987, achieving a distinguished record of intelligence and security initiatives, family and child policy, health care, human rights and environmental policy.
Prior to serving as Speaker, Pelosi led House Democrats with remarkable effectiveness as House Democratic Leader. Described by congressional expert Norman Ornstein as one of “the most savvy political figures around,” Pelosi built consensus and unified the Democratic caucus that paved the way for a successful election in 2006, when Democrats regained control of the House.