The announcement last week by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that she will be stepping down from her leadership role in the Democratic caucus (although she will remain as a member of the House) marks an end to one of the most remarkable political careers in American history.
Nancy Pelosi first was elected to the House in 1987 in a special election after raising five children as a stay-at-home mom (which in itself is a remarkable feat!).
She soon rose to a leadership role among her Democratic colleagues for a simple reason: Nancy Pelosi was a lot smarter — and more politically-savvy — than any of them.
Her tenure as the first woman Speaker of the House in 2007 was groundbreaking and has paved the way for women to be accepted in the very upper-echelons of our government.
More than any other person, she was responsible for ensuring that the Affordable Care Act — also known as Obamacare — passed the House in 2010, a measure that has provided affordable health insurance for millions of Americans.
Despite being the object of what can only be described as hatred by her political opponents, Nancy Pelosi persevered with a determination that far outshone her political rivals and that made her the most successful and consequential Speaker of the House since the departure of Tip O’Neil in 1987.
Compared to both her Republican and Democratic counterparts of the recent past (think of lummoxes like Dennis Hastert, John Boehner, Jim Wright, and soon-to-be Speaker Kevin McCarthy), Nancy Pelosi has been a giant in American politics.
The vitriol engendered by her political opponents finally struck Pelosi personally when her husband of almost 60 years, Paul Pelosi, was attacked by a hammer-wielding assailant who broke into their home three weeks ago.
However, as she has throughout her entire life, Nancy Pelosi continues to move forward.
Despite all of her remarkable political accomplishments, the one moment that always will stand out for us is when she was caught on film in a bunker while the Trump-inspired rioters were rampaging through the Capitol on January 6
“I hope he (Trump) comes,” the 80 year-old grandmother told her staff. “I want to punch him out.… I’ve been waiting for this…I’m gonna punch him out, and I’m gonna go to jail, and I’m gonna be happy.”
That epitomizes Nancy Pelosi — a tough and dedicated public servant who has devoted almost half of her 82 years in exemplary service to our country.