Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who made history by becoming the first female speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2007, announced Thursday she will not seek a Democratic leadership position as Republicans will take control of the lower chamber next year.
Addressing the House on Thursday, the 82-year-old Pelosi spoke about how she entered leadership in 2002 after initially being elected to Congress back in 1987 and championed the increased diversity of the legislative body.
“When I first came to the floor at 6 years old, never would I have thought that someday I would go from homemaker to House speaker," Pelosi recounted. "In fact, I never intended to run for public office.”
“I have enjoyed working with three presidents, achieving historic investments in clean energy with President George Bush, transformative healthcare reform with President Barack Obama, and forging the future from infrastructure to healthcare to climate action with President Joe Biden.”
Pelosi cited Ecclesiastes 3, which states that “for everything, there is a season." She will continue to hold her seat in Congress, representing the San Francisco area.
“With great confidence in our caucus, I will not seek reelection to Democratic leadership in the next Congress,” she said. “For me, the hour’s come for a new generation to lead the Democratic caucus that I so deeply respect.”
“And I’m grateful that so many are ready and willing to shoulder this awesome responsibility.”
Pelosi spoke about the many who have supported her over the years, from Democrat colleagues in Congress to her husband, Paul, her children and grandchildren. She thanked her "brilliant, dedicated, and patriotic staff” and the people of San Francisco.
“In this continued work, I will strive to honor the call of the patron saint of our city, Saint Francis, ‘Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace,’” she said.
“In this House, we begin each day with a prayer and a pledge to the flag. And every day, I am in awe of the majestic miracle that is American democracy.”
Pelosi’s remarks come the day after the Republican Party secured control of the House in last week’s midterm elections.
As of Thursday morning, Republicans passed the 218-seat minimum to have majority control of the lower house of Congress, with several more House seats still to be determined.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., also announced Thursday his intention not to seek reelection to leadership roles next Congress. Hoyer, 83, agrees that “now is the time for a new generation of leaders.” Hoyer's announcement puts Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, in the driver's seat to replace Pelosi as House Democrat leader.
Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel released a statement on Wednesday, declaring that the “future is bright.”
“Our message of prosperity, security, and opportunity prevailed. Families from all backgrounds and all walks of life voted Republican in this election because they know that freedom matters,” stated McDaniel.
“This Republican Congress will fight to lower costs, support our police, secure our border, and put a check on Joe Biden's disastrous agenda. After years of Democrat failure, Republicans will get our country back on track.”