Nancy Patricia Pelosi is an American politician who served as the 52nd Speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 2007 to 2011 and again from 2019 to 2023. She represents California’s 11th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives and has been in Congress since 1987. The district, numbered as the 5th district from 1987 to 1993, the 8th from 1993 to 2013, and the 12th from 2013 to 2023, includes most of the city of San Francisco.
A member of the Democratic Party, Pelosi is the first woman elected Speaker and the first woman to lead a major political party in either chamber of the U.S. Congress. She led House Democrats for 20 years, from 2003 to 2023, before stepping down from the leadership while remaining a member of the House. Pelosi stepped into politics as a volunteer for the Democratic Party.
She was first elected to Congress in a 1987 special election and is now in her 19th term; she is the dean of California’s congressional delegation. Pelosi steadily rose through the ranks of the House Democratic Caucus to be elected House minority whip in 2002 and elevated to House minority leader a year later, becoming the first woman to hold each of those positions in either chamber of Congress.
In the 2006 midterm elections, Pelosi led the Democrats to a majority in the House for the first time in 12 years and was subsequently elected Speaker, becoming the first woman to hold the office. During her first speakership, Pelosi was a major opponent of the Iraq War as well as the Bush administration’s attempts to partially privatize Social Security.
She participated in the passage of the Obama administration’s landmark bills, including the Affordable Care Act, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and the 2010 Tax Relief Act.
Pelosi lost the speakership after the Republican Party retook the majority in the 2010 midterm elections, but she retained her role as leader of the House Democrats and became House minority leader for a second time. In the 2018 midterm elections, Democrats regained majority control of the House, and Pelosi was again elected Speaker, becoming the first former speaker to reclaim the gavel since Sam Rayburn in 1955.
During her second speakership, the House twice impeached President Donald Trump, first in December 2019 and again in January 2021; the Senate acquitted Trump both times. She participated in the passage of the Biden administration’s landmark bills, including the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the CHIPS and Science Act, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, and the Respect for Marriage Act.
In the 2022 midterm elections, Republicans regained control of the House, thus ending her second speakership. She announced her retirement as the leader of the House Democratic Caucus shortly thereafter, but said she would remain a member of the House. On November 29, 2022, the Steering and Policy Committee of the House Democratic Caucus named Pelosi “Speaker Emerita”.
Some of the best quotes from Nancy Pelosi are listed below.
- “A successful marriage is a decision. You decide it’s going to work. You can’t always be there, but you have to be there enough. And you have to make sure you are where you’re needed most.” – Nancy Pelosi
- “America must be a light to the world, not just a missile.” – Nancy Pelosi
- “America will be far safer if we reduce the chances of a terrorist attack in one of our cities than if we diminish the civil liberties of our own people.” – Nancy Pelosi
- “Americans deserve a better tomorrow, today.” – Nancy Pelosi
- “As many of you know, I come from San Francisco. We don’t have a lot of farms there. Well, we do have one–it’s a mushroom farm, so you know what that means.” – Nancy Pelosi
- “As you may know, I was raised in an Italian Catholic family in Baltimore, Maryland.” – Nancy Pelosi
- “Being the first woman speaker and breaking the marble ceiling is pretty important. Now it’s time to move on.” – Nancy Pelosi
- “Bipartisanship is nice, but it cannot be a substitute for action, not having it cannot prevent us from going forward.” – Nancy Pelosi
- “Democratic priorities remain clear: to provide a tax cut for working families, to promote policies that produce jobs and economic growth, and to assist millions of our fellow Americans who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own.” – Nancy Pelosi
- “Democrats embrace The Affordable Care Act. We’re very proud of it.” – Nancy Pelosi
- “Don’t underestimate your opponent, but don’t overestimate them, either.” – Nancy Pelosi
- “Every month that we do not have an economic recovery package 500 million Americans lose their jobs.” – Nancy Pelosi
- “For 25 years, it has been my privilege to represent the city of San Francisco and the great state of California; to work to strengthen our vibrant middle class; to secure opportunity and equality.” – Nancy Pelosi
- “Freedom is secured every day by our men and women in uniform. We must build a future worthy of their sacrifice.” – Nancy Pelosi
- “I always saw politics as an expansion of my role as a mom.” – Nancy Pelosi
- “I have deep emotions about the American people. If I were to cry for anything, I would cry for them and the policies that they’re about to face.” – Nancy Pelosi
- “I must have good genes from my parents because I feel no slowdown of energy, enthusiasm or even memory.” – Nancy Pelosi
- “I never dread going back to Congress.” – Nancy Pelosi
- “I read that my lifelong dream is to serve as speaker with Hillary Clinton as president. So what?” – Nancy Pelosi
- “I really want women to know their power, to value their experience. To understand that nothing has been more wholesome in the political process than the increased involvement of women.” – Nancy Pelosi
- “I think that much of the truth has been withheld from the American people.” – Nancy Pelosi
- “I went to Catholic school throughout my whole academic life. In fact, my children – my husband and I and our children in my own family now have over 100 years of Catholic education among us.” – Nancy Pelosi
- “I would say that one of the things that encouraged me so much when I became elected to the leadership was the letters I received from fathers of daughters, saying that, ‘My daughter can now do many more things because of what you did.’” – Nancy Pelosi
- “I’ve never walked away from any of my positions. I take pride in them.” – Nancy Pelosi
- “If I cry, it’s about the personal loss of a friend or something like that. But when it comes to politics – no, I don’t cry.” – Nancy Pelosi
- “If people don’t have a job, they’re not too interested in how you intend for them to have a job. They want to see results.” – Nancy Pelosi
- “If you don’t vote, you don’t count.” – Nancy Pelosi
- “If you make – not have – $1 million a year, should you not participate in the sense of community of our country? I’m willing to put that on the table.” – Nancy Pelosi
- “In our recovery package we put new standards of accountability and transparency, which we hope will now apply.” – Nancy Pelosi
- “Jobs mean freedom for workers to support their families.” – Nancy Pelosi
- “Let’s just do what is right for the American people. And those of us who are involved in politics and government know that our responsibility is to the American people, that we have a responsibility to find our common ground, to seek it and to find it.” – Nancy Pelosi
- “Maybe it will take a woman to clean up the House.” – Nancy Pelosi
- “My biggest fight has been between those who wanted to do something incremental and those who wanted to do something comprehensive. We won that fight, and once we kick through this door, there’ll be more legislation to follow.” – Nancy Pelosi
- “My brother is the former mayor of Baltimore.” – Nancy Pelosi
- “My father died the year I was elected to Congress: 1987.” – Nancy Pelosi
- “My father was in Congress when I was born. He was mayor my whole life from when I was in grade school – first grade – to when I went away to college.” – Nancy Pelosi
- “My vision for the future always centers around our children – it always centers around our children. So anytime anybody asks me what are the three most important issues facing the Congress, I always say the same thing: ‘Our children, our children, our children.’” – Nancy Pelosi
- “Republicans support opening the floodgates to special interest money and suppressing the right to vote. It’s just plain wrong.” – Nancy Pelosi
- “Social Security has never failed to pay promised benefits, and Democrats will fight to make sure that Republicans do not turn a guaranteed benefit into a guaranteed gamble.” – Nancy Pelosi
- “The American dream is about freedom.” – Nancy Pelosi
- “The American people voted to restore integrity and honesty in Washington, D.C., and the Democrats intend to lead the most honest, most open and most ethical Congress in history.” – Nancy Pelosi
- “The impact of climate change is a tremendous risk to the security and well-being of our countries.” – Nancy Pelosi
- “The name ‘Republican’ in some ways has been hijacked by obstructionists.” – Nancy Pelosi
- “Think of an economy where people could be an artist or a photographer or a writer without worrying about keeping their day job in order to have health insurance.” – Nancy Pelosi
- “Washington and Congress are steeped in history and tradition, and that’s been very male-oriented.” – Nancy Pelosi
- “We are not going back to the failed policies of the past. We are fighting for the middle class!” – Nancy Pelosi
- “We have so much room for improvement. Every aspect of our lives must be subjected to an inventory… of how we are taking responsibility.” – Nancy Pelosi
- “What the Republicans have said is rather than touch one hair on the heads of the wealthiest people in our country, people who make over $1 million a year, they’re saying, ‘Seniors should pay $6,000 more dollars a year. But please don’t let us ask the wealthiest to do their fair share.’” – Nancy Pelosi
- “What we’re discussing privately and publicly, is a budget which is a blueprint for the future which creates jobs, which educates our children, which provides healthcare for all Americans, which takes our deficit down, which gives a tax cut for 95% of the American people.” – Nancy Pelosi
- “With Americans worried about losing their jobs, their savings, their homes and their chance at the American Dream, the New Direction Congress will work in a bipartisan way to lift our economy and help America’s middle class.” – Nancy Pelosi