DISCOVERTHENETWORKS: Nancy Pelosi


Will she stay or will she go, now?

Speaker Nancy Pelosi is facing opposition for the position of House Minority Leader. As it turns out, some in the Democratic Party are a little bitter about being led off a cliff. While Pelosi’s political future is uncertain, few can dismiss her extensive career in the halls of American government. In recognition of this, we thought we would recount some of the speaker’s “greatest achievements,” as chronicled at Discover the Networks.

From felonious fraternization with state sponsors of terror, to voting against partial-birth abortion bans, it’s simply hard to imagine politics without her.

Nancy Pelosi has represented California’s Eighth Congressional District (which includes most of San Francisco) in the House of Representatives since 1987. Her Congressional seat has been held by Democrats, without interruption, since 1949. Pelosi is a member of the socialist-leaning Progressive Caucus, to whose executive committee she was named in 2002. In January 2007 she became the first female Speaker of the House in American history.

Pelosi was born in March 1940 in Baltimore, Maryland, the youngest of six children. Her father, Thomas D’Alesandro, Jr., served as both a U.S. congressman in Maryland and as the mayor of Baltimore.

In 1962 Pelosi graduated from Trinity College in Washington, DC, and then interned for Democratic Maryland Senator Daniel Brewster before moving, with her husband, to San Francisco in 1969.

Following her relocation, Pelosi became increasingly involved in politics. In 1977 she was elected Democratic Party chairwoman for northern California. Around that time, she befriended Phillip Burton, the Democrat congressman representing California’s Eighth District. When Burton died in 1983, his wife, Sala, succeeded him in office. Three years later she was diagnosed with cancer and chose Pelosi to be her successor within the party, thereby assuring Pelosi the backing of the Burtons’ political allies.

Mrs. Burton died on February 1, 1987, just a month after she had begun her second full term in office. In a special election to determine who would fill Burton’s now-empty House seat, Pelosi narrowly defeated San Francisco Supervisor Harry Britt and took office on June 2, 1987. Since then, she has been re-elected every two years.

In 2001 Pelosi became House Minority Whip. The following year, she was named Democratic Leader of the House of Representatives, thereby becoming the first woman in American history to lead a major party in the U.S. Congress.

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