United States’ first and only woman House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi has revealed that she will step down as the Democratic House leader.
Pelosi’s announcement came shortly after the Republican Party regained the majority of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, which has been controlled by Democrats for the past four years.
The 82-year-old while speaking on the House floor, recounted the first time she saw the Capitol building, on a “cold January day” when she was 6 years old.
She averred that, while driving through Washington, D.C., her brothers told her to look at the Capitol. As a young girl, Pelosi was confused. “I said, ‘I don’t see a capital. Is it a capital ‘A,’ a capital ‘B’ or a capital ‘C?'” She continued: “Finally, I saw it: a stunning white building with a magnificent dome.”
Pelosi stated that it is that same building that lawmakers have made history; “In this room, our colleagues across history have abolished slavery, granted women the right to vote, established Social Security and Medicare, offered a hand to the weak, care to the sick, education to the young, and hope to the many”.
While calling herself “a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a devout Catholic” and “a proud Democrat,” she said her rise in the House was a surprise even to her.
“Never would I have thought I’d go from homemaker to House speaker. In fact I never intended to run for public office,” she said. “Mommy and Daddy taught us through their example that public service is a noble calling and that we all have a responsibility to help others.”
Heroically, the history maker has worked with four presidents as speaker and seen the faces of her colleagues change and grow more diverse with time.
She said “We the people, one country, one destiny. It’s been with great pride in my 35 years in the house watching this body grow more reflective of our great nation, our beautiful nation,” adding that “When I came to the Congress in 1987 there were 12 Democratic women. Now there are over 90 — and we want more.”
In the emotion-laden House, Pelosi announced her role as a leader in the party would come to an end. “Scripture teaches us that for everything there is a season … And with great confidence in our caucus I will not seek reelection to Democratic leadership in our next congress.”
However, she would continue to serve as a member of the House, “speaking for the people of San Francisco, serving the great state of California and defending our Constitution.”
“A new day is dawning on the horizon and I look forward, always forward, to the unfolding story of our nation – a story of light and love, of patriotism and progress, of many becoming one”.
In a swift move, minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was selected as the GOP’s pick to replace Pelosi as House speaker in January. Also, Rep. Steve Scalise was chosen to be the second highest-ranking Republican official, the House majority leader.
Reacting to Pelosi’s announcement, President Joe Biden in a statement chronicled Pelosi’s successes and calling her a dear friend.
Biden wrote “When I think of Nancy Pelosi, I think of dignity. History will note she is the most consequential Speaker of the House of Representatives in our history. There are countless examples of how she embodies the obligation of elected officials to uphold their oath to God and country to ensure our democracy delivers and remains a beacon to the world.”
He added: “As a nation, we owe her a deep debt of gratitude for her service, her patriotism, and above all, her absolute dignity.”
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