Nancy Pelosi (First Female Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives)
Nancy Patricia D'Alesandro Pelosi (born March 26, 1940) is the Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives and served as the 60th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 2007 to 2011.
She was the first woman to hold the office and to date, has been the highest-ranking female politician in American history.
Before being elected Speaker in the 110th Congress, she was the House Minority Leader from 2003 to 2007, holding the post during the 108th and 109th Congresses.
A member of the Democratic Party, Pelosi has represented the 8th Congressional District of California, which consists of four-fifths of the City and County of San Francisco, since 1987. The district was numbered as the 5th during Pelosi's first three terms in the House.
Pelosi was the first female Speaker of the House. She is also the first Californian and first Italian-American to hold the post.
As Speaker, Pelosi was second in the line of presidential succession, following Vice President Joe Biden, which made her the highest-ranking female politician in American history.
Pelosi is Italian-American and was born Nancy Patricia D'Alesandro in Baltimore, Maryland, the youngest of six children of Anunciata M. ("Nancy") and Thomas D'Alesandro, Jr., who was a Democratic party U.S. Congressman from Maryland and a Mayor of Baltimore. Pelosi's brother, Thomas D'Alesandro III, also a Democrat, was mayor of Baltimore from 1967 to 1971, when he declined to run for a second term.
Pelosi was involved with politics from an early age. She graduated from the Institute of Notre Dame, a Catholic all-girls high school in Baltimore, and from Trinity College (now Trinity Washington University) in Washington, D.C., in 1962 with a B.A. in political science. Pelosi interned for Senator Daniel Brewster (D-Maryland) alongside future House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer.
She met Paul Frank Pelosi (b. April 15, 1940, in San Francisco, California) while she was attending Trinity College. They married in a Catholic church on September 7, 1963. After the couple married, they moved to New York, and then to San Francisco in 1969, where Mr. Pelosi's brother, Ronald Pelosi was a member of the City and County of San Francisco's Board of Supervisors.
After moving to San Francisco, Pelosi worked her way up in Democratic politics. She became a friend of one of the leaders of the California Democratic Party, 5th District Congressman Phillip Burton.
In 1976, Pelosi was elected as a Democratic National Committee member from California, a position she would hold until 1996.
She was elected as party chairwoman for Northern California on January 30, 1977.
In 1981, Pelosi was elected chair of the California Democratic Party, which she was until 1983.
In 1985, she was appointed Finance Chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the campaign arm of the U.S. Senate Democrats. That same year, she ran to succeed Chuck Manatt as chair of the Democratic National Committee, but lost to then-DNC Treasurer Paul G. Kirk.
Pelosi left her post as DSCC finance chair in 1986.
In 1987, after her youngest child became a high school senior, Pelosi ran for the seat vacated on the death of Phillip Burton's wife Sala Burton, who had assumed her husband's seat on his own death in 1983.
On November 16, 2006, Pelosi was unanimously chosen by her caucus as the Democratic candidate for Speaker, effectively making her Speaker-elect. While the Speaker is elected by the full House membership, in modern practice the election is a formality, since the Speaker always comes from the majority party.
Pelosi supported her longtime friend, John Murtha of Pennsylvania, for the position of House Majority Leader, the second-ranking post in the House Democratic caucus. His competitor was House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland, who had been Pelosi's second-in-command since 2003. Pelosi and Hoyer had a somewhat frosty relationship dating back to 2001, when they ran against each other for minority whip. However, Hoyer was elected as House Majority Leader over Murtha by a margin of 149-86 within the caucus.
On January 3, Pelosi defeated Republican John Boehner of Ohio with 233 votes compared to his 202 votes in the election for Speaker of the House. She was nominated by Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, the incoming chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, and sworn in by her longtime friend, John Dingell of Michigan, as the longest-serving member of the House traditionally does.
With her election, Pelosi became the first woman, the first Californian, and the first Italian-American to hold the Speakership. She is also the second Speaker from a state west of the Rocky Mountains. The first was Washington's Tom Foley, the last Democrat to hold the post before Pelosi.
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