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Nancy Pelosi
Official photo of Speaker Nancy Pelosi in 2019.jpg
Official portrait, 2019
52nd Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
In office
January 3, 2019 – January 3, 2023
Preceded by Paul Ryan
Succeeded by Kevin McCarthy
In office
January 4, 2007 – January 3, 2011
Preceded by Dennis Hastert
Succeeded by John Boehner
House Minority Leader
In office
January 3, 2011 – January 3, 2019
Deputy Steny Hoyer
Preceded by John Boehner
Succeeded by Kevin McCarthy
In office
January 3, 2003 – January 3, 2007
Deputy Steny Hoyer
Preceded by Dick Gephardt
Succeeded by John Boehner
Leader of the House Democratic Caucus
In office
January 3, 2003 – January 3, 2023
Deputy Steny Hoyer
Preceded by Dick Gephardt
Succeeded by Hakeem Jeffries
House Minority Whip
In office
January 15, 2002 – January 3, 2003
Leader Dick Gephardt
Preceded by David Bonior
Succeeded by Steny Hoyer
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from California
Assumed office
June 2, 1987
Preceded by Sala Burton
  • 5th district (1987–1993)
  • 8th district (1993–2013)
  • 12th district (2013–2023)
  • 11th district (2023–present)
Chair of the California Democratic Party
In office
February 27, 1981 – April 3, 1983
Preceded by Richard J. O'Neill
Succeeded by Peter Kelly
Personal details
Nancy Patricia D'Alesandro

(1940-03-26) March 26, 1940 (age 83)
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Political party Democratic
(m. 1963)
Children 5, including Christine and Alexandra
  • Thomas D'Alesandro Jr. (father)
Relatives Thomas D'Alesandro III (brother)
Residence(s) San Francisco, California, U.S.
Education Trinity College (BA)
Signature Cursive signature in ink

Nancy Patricia Pelosi ( née D'Alesandro; born March 26, 1940) 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. A member of the Democratic Party, she was the first woman elected Speaker and the first woman to lead a major political party in either chamber of Congress, leading the House Democrats for 20 years, from 2003 to 2023. She has represented CA's 11th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives 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.

Early life and education

Nancy Pelosi was born in Baltimore, Maryland, to an Italian-American family. She was the only daughter and the youngest of seven children of Annunciata M. "Nancy" D'Alesandro (née Lombardi) and Thomas D'Alesandro Jr. Her mother was born in Fornelli, Isernia, Molise, in Southern Italy, and immigrated to the U.S. in 1912; her father traced his Italian ancestry to Genoa, Venice and Abruzzo. When Pelosi was born, her father was a Democratic congressman from Maryland. He became Baltimore mayor seven years later. Pelosi's mother was also active in politics, organizing Democratic women and teaching her daughter political skills. Pelosi's brother, Thomas D'Alesandro III, also a Democrat, was elected Baltimore City Council president and later served as mayor from 1967 to 1971.

Pelosi helped her father at his campaign events, and she attended President John F. Kennedy's inaugural address in January 1961.

In 1958, Pelosi graduated from the Institute of Notre Dame, an all-girls Catholic high school in Baltimore. In 1962, she graduated from Trinity College in Washington, D.C., with a Bachelor of Arts in political science. Pelosi interned for Senator Daniel Brewster (D-Maryland) in the 1960s alongside future House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer.


Bush, Pelosi, and Hoyer meeting at White House, Nov 9, 2006
President George W. Bush meets with Speaker-designate Pelosi and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer on November 9, 2006.

After moving to San Francisco, Pelosi became friends with 5th district congressman Phillip Burton and began working her way up in Democratic politics. In 1976, she was elected as a Democratic National Committee member from California, a position she would hold until 1996. She was elected as party chair for Northern California in 1977, and four years later was selected to head the California Democratic Party, which she led until 1983. Subsequently, Pelosi served as the San Francisco Democratic National Convention Host Committee chairwoman in 1984, and then as Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee finance chair from 1985 to 1986.

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.

Nancy Pelosi 1993 congressional photo
Pelosi as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, 1993

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 for the new Congress, ending her tenure as speaker. On November 29, 2022, the Steering and Policy Committee of the House Democratic Caucus named Pelosi "Speaker Emerita".

Political positions

Pelosi voted against the Secure Fence Act of 2006.

In June 2018, Pelosi visited a federal facility used to detain migrant children separated from their parents and subsequently called for the resignation of Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. In July, Pelosi characterized the compromise immigration bill by the Republicans as a "deal with the devil" and said she had not had conversations with House Speaker Ryan about a legislative solution to the separation of families at the southern border.

In April 2021, after southern border crossings peaked, House Republicans criticized Pelosi for saying that immigration under the Biden administration was "on a good path". U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported that nearly 19,000 unaccompanied minors arrived in March.

Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi at DNC (1)
Pelosi and Barack Obama shaking hands at the 2008 Democratic National Convention

Pelosi has long supported LGBT rights. In 1996, she voted against the Defense of Marriage Act, and in 2004 and 2006, she voted against the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment, which would amend the United States Constitution to define marriage federally as being between one man and one woman, thereby overriding states' individual rights to legalize same-sex marriage. Pelosi supports the Equality Act, a bill that would expand the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. In 2019, she spoke in Congress in favor of the bill and called for ending discrimination against LGBT people. Pelosi also opposes Trump's transgender military ban.

Pelosi opposed the welfare reform President Bush proposed as well as reforms proposed and passed under President Clinton. She also opposed the tax reform signed by Trump in December 2017, calling it "probably one of the worst bills in the history of the United States of America ... It robs from the future [and] it rewards the rich ... and corporations at the expense of tens of millions of working middle-class families in our country."

In 1999, Pelosi voted against displaying the Ten Commandments in public buildings, including schools. She voted for the No Child Left Behind Act, which instituted testing to track students' progress and authorized an increase in overall education spending.

In 2019, Pelosi said climate change was "the existential threat of our time" and called for action to curb it. She has supported the development of new technologies to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil and remediate the adverse environmental effects of burning fossil fuels. Pelosi has widely supported conservation programs and energy research appropriations. She has also voted to remove an amendment that would allow for oil and gas exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Pelosi has blocked efforts to revive offshore oil drilling in protected areas, reasoning that offshore drilling could lead to an increase in dependence on fossil fuels.

Pelosi was instrumental in passing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. She was a key figure in convincing Obama to continue pushing for health-care reform after the election of Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown in a January special election—a defeat seen as potentially fatal to Democratic reform efforts. After delivering 219 votes in the House for Obama's health-care package, Pelosi was both praised and heckled as she made her way to Capitol Hill.Pelosi has voted to increase Medicare and Medicaid benefits.

Pelosi stands in favor of increased background checks for potential gun owners, as well as the banning of assault weapons.

Honors and decorations

See also

  • Electoral history of Nancy Pelosi
  • Know Your Power
  • List of female speakers of legislatures in the United States
  • Women in the United States House of Representatives

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