Nancy Pelosi is a trailblazing U.S. politician who is known for becoming the first female Democratic leader of the House of Representatives. She also later became the first woman to hold the position of Speaker of the House, a position that she holds to this day.
Born Nancy D’Alesandro in Baltimore in 1940, Pelosi studied at Trinity College in Washington, D.C. with a bachelor of arts in political science. It was while she was studying there that she met her husband, Paul Pelosi, with whom she relocated to San Francisco and has five children.
Nancy Pelosi started her political career working as an intern for the Democratic Party where she was involved in campaigning and publicity. She gradually rose through the party ranks, serving as a California representative to the DNC in the years between 1976 and 1996.
Pelosi’s big break came in 1987 when she succeeded in being elected to the House of Representatives as a member for California’s Eighth District. During her time in this position, Pelosi campaigned strongly for accessible health care and housing for her district’s most disadvantaged groups. She was also known for her staunch defense of human rights and the environment.
In a landmark moment, Pelosi was chosen as the first female leader of the House of Representatives for either party. Following on from this, she then became the first woman to become the Speaker of the House. In the position, Pelosi was an outspoken critic of U.S. involvement in Iraq and also was key in pushing through the Affordable Care Act in 2010.
Nancy Pelosi is also an outspoken critic of President Trump, and she was one of the loudest voices campaigning for the impeachment of the president and eventual legal proceedings that resulted. The charges leveled against Trump were ultimately voted down in the Senate, with the president being acquitted on all charges.
Opinions of Pelosi within the Democratic have not always been favorable. In 2018, Randy Bryce, a Democratic Party nominee for Wisconsin first congressional district, was reluctant to say whether he would support Nancy Pelosi’s bid to become the Speaker of the House for a second time. In an NPR interview, he said: “Anytime that there’s an election in front of me, I take all the candidates, I look to see who’s running first of all, and then weigh them accordingly with interests of not just myself but it would be the people of the district.”