A luminary in American politics with a legacy of breaking glass ceilings, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is the first and so far only female speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.
She was first elected speaker in 2007 and held the post until 2011, when Democrats lost control of the House. In 2019, she was re-elected speaker after Democrats took the House from Republicans.
After the 2018 midterm elections, a small but outspoken group of Democrats initially fought to block Pelosi’s bid to become the next speaker, but she eventually secured the votes needed to reclaim the title. Before the final vote, Pelosi used her dealmaking prowess and negotiated a deal with some Democrats who had been lobbying to block her as speaker. As part of the deal, Pelosi backed a proposal to impose term limits on the party’s three top leaders. However, the 2018 agreement was an informal one, and the rules of the caucus were never changed, imposing any time limits on her term.
Pelosi was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1987, when she won a special election to represent California’s 5th Congressional District. Over the years, she has earned a reputation as a powerful and formidable leader of House Democrats, one who wields significant influence over members of her caucus and maintains a firm grip.
She is also a formidable enemy of Republicans in Congress and the White House, who have also targeted her for criticism within their party.
When she was first elected Speaker, Pelosi reflected on the importance of the event and what it means to American women.
“This is a historic moment,” she said after accepting the speaker’s gavel. “This is a historic moment for Congress. It’s a historic moment for American women.”
Read more about Pelosi and her political career Gentlemen