Nancy Patricia Pelosi (born March 26, 1940) is a prominent American politician from the Democratic Party with a long successful career in politics and public service. She has represented one of California’s 5th, 8th and 12th Districts in Congress for 31 years. In 2003, she became the first woman to lead a party in the US Congress. Nancy Pelosi created history again in 2007, by becoming the first woman to serve as the Speaker of the House of Representatives. She has now led the House Democrats for 16 years, and is currently serving her 2nd term as Speaker since January 2019, making her second in line to the US Presidency. In September 2019, Nancy Pelosi made global news charging the U.S. President Donald Trump of Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Congress, thereby, announcing the commencement of Impeachment Inquiry, and making him the 3rd U.S. president to be impeached by the House of Representatives. In 2019, Nancy Pelosi was ranked 3rd on Forbes list of the world’s 100 most powerful women and she has also been honored with the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award. Here are the 10 major accomplishment of Nancy Patricia Pelosi.
#1 She served as Representative of California in Democratic National Committee
Nancy belonged to a politically active Italian-American family in Baltimore, Maryland. Her father Thomas D’Alesandro Jr. was a Democratic Congressman and served as the Mayor of Baltimore (1947-59). Her mother Annunciata M. D’Alesandro organized various social activities. An early exposure to her father’s political career and campaigns gave Nancy an understanding of the functioning of the American political system. In 1962, Nancy D’Alesandro graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from Trinity College and joined as an intern with Daniel Brewster, the Democratic senator from the state of Maryland (1963-69). In 1963, she married American businessman and financer Paul Pelosi. The couple moved to San Francisco by 1969. In San Francisco Nancy Pelosi’s political career began taking shape under the guidance of Phillip Burton, a United States Representative from California. Pelosi began volunteering for the Democratic Party by helping with campaigns and quickly worked her way up in Democratic politics. In 1976, she was elected as the Representative of California in Democratic National Committee, the governing body of the Democratic Party. She held the position until 1996. Moreover, she was also selected as the Party Chairperson for Northern California in January 1977; Head of the California Democratic Party in 1981; Chairwoman of San Francisco’s Democratic National Convention Host Committee in 1984 and Finance Chairperson of Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in 1985.
Bentley, Holly. (Mar 26, 2010). “Nancy Pelosi: is this the most powerful woman in US history?” The Guardian.
(March 24, 2020). “Nancy Pelosi Fast Facts.” CNN Editorial Research. CNN.
#2 She has been elected to U.S. House of Representatives since 1987
Nancy Pelosi’s fundraising ability, work within the Democratic Party, and her friendship with Congressmen Phillip Burton and his wife Sara, made her a trusted Democrat by the early 1980s. In 1983, on the sudden demise of Phillip Burton, Sala Burton succeeded him for his term in June 1983. However, in late 1986, Sala became ill with cancer and picked Pelosi as her designated successor, guaranteeing her the support of the contacts of the Burtons. After Sala died on February 1, 1987, Nancy Pelosi won the Special Election to succeed her, narrowly defeating San Francisco supervisor Harry Britt on April 7, 1987, with 36 percent of the vote to his 32 percent. In the subsequent run-off she defeated Harriet Ross, a Republican candidate, on June 2, 1987, by more than a 2:1 margin, thus finding her way to the House of Representatives for the first time. In 1988, Pelosi again won the Regular Election and has been re-elected another 16 times with no substantive opposition, winning with an average of 80 percent of the vote. In 2019, at the age of 79, she started her 17th term in the House.
Love, Keith & Morain, Dan. (April 8, 1987). “Pelosi Wins Democratic Contest for Burton Seat.” Los Angeles Times.
#3 She became the first American woman to lead a party in Congress
In 1988, Nancy Pelosi voted in favor of the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987 and supported the overriding of President Reagan’s veto. In 1991, she voted against authorizing use of force in Iraq. A supporter of LGBT rights, she voted against the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996 and worked on increasing Aids research funding. In 1999, Pelosi voted against displaying the Ten Commandments in public buildings, including schools. In the same year she favored the No Child Left Behind Act, which instituted testing to track students’ progress and increased the overall spending on education. With time, Pelosi developed a reputation as a shrewd, liberal but pragmatic politician who enforced party discipline, built coalitions and raised enormous funds. Her position steadily rose within the party ranks and in 2001, Pelosi was elected as the Minority Whip winning a narrow victory against Maryland’s Steny Hoyer. The position made her second-in-command to Democratic Minority Leader Dick Gephardt. Moreover, she became the first woman in U.S. history to hold the position. In 2002, when Richard Andrew Gephardt resigned as Minority Leader, Pelosi was elected to replace him. In 2003, on assuming office, Nancy Pelosi became the first woman in the history of United States to lead a party in Congress, a position she would hold for several years to come.
“Nancy Pelosi“. PopularTimelines.
Zurcher, Anthony. (Jan 2, 2019). “Nancy Pelosi: The remarkable comeback of America’s most powerful woman”. BBC
#4 Nancy Pelosi is the first female Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives
In the middle of Republican President George W. Bush’s second term, Midterm Elections were held on November 7, 2006 in the United States. The Democratic Party succeeded in winning a majority gaining 31 seats. Being the leader of the opposition responsible for the path breaking victory in the election, Nancy Pelosi, the House Minority Leader was widely expected to become speaker of the House in the next Congress. On November 16, 2006, the Democratic caucus unanimously chose Pelosi as the Democratic candidate for the speakership. In the election for the 52nd Speaker of the House, Pelosi defeated Republican John Boehner of Ohio with 233 votes compared to his 202 votes. She thus became the first-ever female, the first-ever Italian-American, and first-ever Californian Speaker of the House of Representatives. Accepting the position she said: “This is an historic moment — for the Congress, and for the women of America. It is a moment for which we have waited more than 200 years. Never losing faith, we waited through the many years of struggle to achieve our rights.” Nancy Pelosi served as the Speaker from 2007 to 2011 and would be re-elected again in 2019.
(Updated July 31, 2020). “Breakthrough Women Fast Facts: US Government, Education, Business and Sports.” CNN Editorial Research. CNN.
(April 1, 2007). “Speaker of the House Pelosi makes history.” The Associated Press. NBC News.
Benenson, Bob. (Jan 4, 2007). “Pelosi Officially Elected Speaker of the U.S. House.” The New York Times.
#5 Her speakership saw one of the most productive congresses in U.S. history
Having risen as a prominent leader in American politics and arguably the most powerful woman in America, Pelosi worked in partnership with Barrack Obama, the 44th president of the United States. As Speaker of the 111th Congress, she headed one of the most productive congresses in American history. Several notable legislation were passed during her speaker-ship including the following:-
American Clean Energy and Security Act
Under her leadership of Pelosi, the House passed the landmark American Clean Energy and Security Act, a comprehensive bill to create clean energy jobs, combat the climate crisis, and transition America to a clean energy economy. Although the legislation was blocked by Republicans in the United States Senate, it sent a strong signal to the world about the United States’ commitment to fighting the climate crisis.
Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act
In January 2009, Pelosi passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act (January 29, 2009) into law, to restore the ability of women and all workers to access the judicial system to fight pay discrimination.
Affordable Care Act
Pelosi was the architect of the Affordable Care Act (March 23, 2010) or Obamacare which has guaranteed protections for all Americans with pre-existing medical conditions, ended annual and lifetime limits on health coverage, and provided affordable health coverage for tens of millions more Americans while lowering health care costs over the long term. In Obama’s remarks before signing the bill into law, he specifically credited Pelosi as being "one of the best speakers the House of Representatives has ever had".
Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act
She also led the Congress in passing Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (July 21, 2010) which overhauled Financial Regulation in the aftermath of the Great Recession, and made changes affecting all federal Financial Regulatory Agencies and nation's Financial Services Industry.
Repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
In late 2010, Pelosi led the Congress in repealing the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy. The Act had prohibited homosexuals and bisexuals from revealing their sexual orientation or speaking about it in public while serving in the United States armed forces. The Act effectively banned openly gay and lesbian soldiers from military service. The repeal of the Act was thus a major step in ending official sexual discrimination in the US armed forces.
Zurcher, Anthony. (Jan 2, 2019). "Nancy Pelosi: The remarkable comeback of America's most powerful woman". BBC.
#6 She served as Minority Leader in Congress from 2011 to 2019
In the 2010 Midterm Elections, the Democrats lost 63 seats, thus handing over the control of the House of Representatives to the Republican Party. The Republicans had gained a 242 to 193 majority, their best showing since 1946. This electoral setback led to Nancy Pelosi losing her speakership in 2011. Having lost the position of the Speaker, Pelosi decided to contest for the position of Minority Leader again. She regained her position of a Minority Leader by defeating North Carolina centrist, Heath Shuler, with a margin of 150-43, in 2011. Although Pelosi endured criticism for her party’s losses and faced disparate intra-party opposition, she continued to receive solid support of party liberals, who have noted her fundraising prowess and past ability to lead congressional Democrats to power, among other things. Pelosi held the position for 8 years until 2019. In her resumed role, she spearheaded a historic bipartisan agreement to strengthen Medicare in the 114th Congress. Moreover, she united Democrats against Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and organized campaigns against Republican’s Trumpcare legislation.
Adams, Richard. (5 Nov, 2010). “Nancy Pelosi to stay on as Democratic House leader after midterm defeat.“ The Guardian.
Hunter, Kathleen. (Jan 5, 2011) “Pelosi Loses Support of 19 Democrats for Speaker.“ Roll Call.
“Nancy Pelosi Speaker of the House”. Speaker of the House.
#7 She holds the record for the longest continuous speech in Congress since 1909
On February 7, 2018, Nancy Pelosi created a record for the longest continuous speech in the House of Representatives. She started speaking at 10:04 a.m. and yielded the floor shortly after 6 p.m., making the 8 hour 5 minute all day speech the longest since at least 1909. She broke the record of former Speaker and Democrat from Missouri, James Beauchamp “Champ” Clark, who in 1909 spoke for 5 hours and 15 minutes in the House. Although the majority holds tight control over floor speeches, three members of House leadership are allowed unlimited speaking time: Speaker, Majority Leader and Minority Leader. Taking advantage of the rule, Pelosi set forth to persuade Republicans to pass the Dream Act, a bill focused on the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM). The bill was a legislative proposal to grant conditional residency, with the right to work, to qualifying immigrants who entered the United States as minor. If they later satisfied further qualifications, they would attain permanent residency. Thus it would grant legal status to undocumented young people who came to the U.S. as children; often called Dreamers.
The speech came in light of President Trump’s intentions to end the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), which protected undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children from deportation. “Every day, courageous, patriotic Dreamers lose their status. Every day, the American dream slips further out of reach” Pelosi said arguing in favor of the young immigrants in the historical speech. Pelosi also quoted from the Bible, laying out a moral case for the legislation. “As members of Congress, we have a moral responsibility to act now to protect Dreamers who are the pride of our nation and are American in every way, but on paper.”
Hayes, Christal. (Feb 7, 2018). “Nancy Pelosi’s all-day marathon speech sets record as longest continuous speech since at least 1909″. USA Today.
Blumberg, Antonia. (Feb 8, 2018). “Nancy Pelosi Sets Record For Longest Continuous Speech In House History”. Huffpost.
Reilly, Katie. (Feb 7, 2018). “Nancy Pelosi Sets Record With 8-Hour-Long DACA Speech on the House Floor“. TIME.
#8 Nancy Pelosi was re-elected as Speaker at the 116th Congress
In the November 2018 Midterms Election, Democrats regained control of the House of Representatives, and won back the chamber from Republicans, breaking one-party rule in Congress after eight years. Pelosi was now 78 years old and faced mounting criticism from younger members about a system that rewarded seniority and squandered new talent. However her ability to take on President Trump and her agreeing to limit her term to 4 years saw the House Democrats nominate Nancy Pelosi once again to serve as the Speaker of the House. Upon the opening of the 116th United States Congress, Pelosi was elected as Speaker of the House, by winning 220 votes as against 192 votes polled for the Republican nominee Kevin McCarthy. With the victory she donned the tag of the only female to be elected as the Speaker twice; the third most powerful role in the US House of Representatives. This also made her the first person in more than six decades to reclaim the Speaker’s Chair. As a Speaker, Pelosi is fighting for lowering health care costs, reducing economic disparity, protecting social welfare programs and climate change.
Buncombe, Andrew. (Nov 7, 2018). “Record number of women elected as Democrats seize House but come up short in Senate.” The Independent.
Nilsen, Ella. (Jan 3, 2019). “It’s official: Nancy Pelosi is elected speaker of the House.” Vox Media.
#9 She initiated impeachment proceedings against President Trump
Gaining a majority in the 2018 mid-term elections, the Democrats launched multiple investigations into President Donald Trump’s actions and finances. In July 2019, a CIA whistle-blower alleged that President Trump coerced Ukraine and other foreign countries into providing damaging narratives about Joe Biden, the 2020 Presidential Primary Candidate of Democratic Party. In addition, it was alleged that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election with the goals of harming the campaign of Hillary Clinton; boosting the candidacy of Donald Trump; and increasing political and social discord in the United States. The whistle-blower also wrote of a possible cover-up by the White House. The scandal reached public attention in mid-September 2019 and complaints were raised concerning about Trump using presidential powers to solicit foreign electoral intervention in the 2020 Presidential Election. On September 24, 2019, Pelosi announced that six committees of the House of Representatives would begin a formal impeachment inquiry into President Trump. The six committees which were charged with the task were Financial Services, the Judiciary, Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, Oversight & Reform, and Ways and Means. Following the inquiry, President Donald Trump was impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives, led by Nancy Pelosi, on December 18, 2019. The articles of impeachment charge him of Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Congress. Donald Trump became the third U.S. president to be impeached by the House of Representatives, after Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1999. In order to convict the President and remove him from office, it would have required support from a two-thirds majority of the Senate, a highly unlikely proposition. On February 5, the Senate acquitted Trump on both impeachment articles.
Yglesias, Matthew & Prokop, Andrew. (Nov 5, 2019). “The ultimate guide to the Donald Trump impeachment saga.” Vox Media.
#10 Nancy Pelosi is regarded as one of the most powerful women in the world
On the eve of Trump’s trial before the U.S. Senate, Paul Kane, the political writer from The Washington Post called Pelosi the most powerful House speaker in at least 25 years. In 2019, Nancy Pelosi was ranked third on Forbes list of the world’s 100 most powerful women. Previously, she has been ranked 11th in 2010 and 26th in 2014 in the same list. In 2019, she was also honored with the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston. Pelosi was recognized for her efforts to pass former President Barack Obama’s 2010 Health Care Law and for helping Democrats reclaim control of the U.S. House in 2018 Midterm Elections. In 2013, Nancy Pelosi was also inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame for her tireless contribution to Women’s Rights, Human Rights, Healthcare, Child Care, Equal Pay and Relief of Poverty during her Speakership. In 2019, Time magazine compiled a list of the women who defined a century, choosing one woman per year from 1920 through 2019. In this project, Nancy Pelosi was named as the Woman of the Year 2010 for creating a program offering universal access to health care in America.
Forbes, Moira & McGrath, Maggie. (Dec 12, 2019). “The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women.” Forbes.
Gabbatt, Adam. (Oct 7, 2010). “Lady Gaga tops Nancy Pelosi in Forbes list of world’s most powerful women.“ The Guardian.
(Mar 5, 2020). “100 Women of the Year 2010: Nancy Pelosi.” TIME.