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Nancy Patricia Pelosi

Pelosi, Nancy Patricia (pəlōˈsē) [key], 1940–, U.S. congresswoman, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives (2007–11), b. Baltimore as Nancy Patricia D'Alesandro. The daughter of Thomas J. D'Alesandro, Jr., who served as Baltimore's mayor and a congressman, she moved to California, where she became active in the Democratic party. In 1987 she was was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in a special election. A liberal from San Francisco, she became minority whip in 2001 and, succeeding Dick Gephardt, minority leader in 2003, becoming the first woman to hold high-ranking leadership positions in the U.S. Congress. Democratic victories in the 2006 and 2008 congressional elections led to her election as Speaker of the House; she became the first woman to hold the post. In 2011 Pelosi became minority leader again, after the Democrats lost their majority.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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