House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, is not seeking a leadership position in the next Congress, opening the door for the Democratic party’s next generation. She is not retiring and will retain her seat representing San Francisco.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-MD, will also step down from House leadership and endorse Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-NY, to be the next party leader.
“For me the hour has come for a new generation to lead the Democratic Caucus that I so deeply respect,” Pelosi said during a speech on the House floor.
Pelosi has been in the House for 35 years and has been in Democratic party leadership for over two decades. She said she’s most proud of passing the Affordable Care Act with President Obama and an Infrastructure bill with President Biden. She also reflected on the recent midterm elections in which her party lost the majority but didn’t lose as many seats as expected.
“Last week the American people spoke. And their voices were raised in defense of liberty, of the rule of law, and of democracy itself,” Pelosi said.
On Jan. 4, 2007, Pelosi became the first woman in history to be Speaker of the House, the highest-ranking member of Congress and second in line to the President.
In her initial address, she called for bipartisanship and supporting the troops as the war on terror continued.
“In this House we may be two different parties, but we serve one country,” Pelosi said. “And our pride and our prayers are united behind our men and women in uniform.”
Fifteen years later, she will hand the gavel to someone else for the final time.