Pelosi, Nancy Patricia

Pelosi, Nancy Patricia pəlōˈsē [key], 1940–, U.S. congresswoman, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives (2007–11, 2019–), 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 succeeded Dick Gephardt as 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; she became the first woman to hold the post. After the Democrats lost their majority in 2010, Pelosi again was minority leader (2011–19); she again became speaker after the 2018 and 2020 elections. Pelosi has long been a target of conservative politicians, and she was a strong opponent of President Donald Trump, memorably tearing up the official copy of his State of the Union speech after he gave it to Congress in 2020.

See biographies by E. S. Povich (2008) and M. Ball (2020).

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