House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Thursday she won’t be seeking a leadership role in the Democratic caucus, meaning for the first time in nearly 20 years House Democrats will have a new leader.
“I will not seek re-election to Democratic leadership in the next Congress,” Pelosi said on the House floor. “For me, the hour has come for a new generation to lead the Democratic caucus that I so deeply respect.”
Pelosi was the first woman to serve as Speaker of the House and her impact over the past two decades has left an impression on representatives from Massachusetts.
“Our nation is stronger today because of the service of Speaker Pelosi. Over the past 35 years, no one has done more for workers, for women, for children, for LGTBQ+ individuals, or for our democracy than the Speaker. She has proven to be the most effective Speaker in the history of the House, spearheading passage of the landmark Affordable Care Act and leading a single-digit majority to pass the most significant climate action legislation, infrastructure investments, and gun violence prevention proposal ever signed into law,” U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan, D-Westford, said in a statement shortly after the announcement.
Trahan continued, “More than anything, Speaker Pelosi is a trailblazer. She has shattered glass ceilings so young women like my two daughters know they can do the same. She is the Lioness of the House, and thanks to her steadfast leadership and unwavering commitment to the prosperity of our nation, she will not be the last woman to lead this chamber.”
Also reflecting on Pelosi’s career in public service was U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Worcester, who said it is “true” that Pelosi is the hardest-working member in Congress. He cited a “record of success” on passing legislation including: The Affordable Care Act. the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform bill, the American Rescue Plan, and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
“Nancy Pelosi has been, without a doubt, the greatest, most effective speaker in the history of the House of Representatives. Guiding our caucus and the Congress through moments of triumph and tragedy, she has been an iconic leader, an unrelenting champion for children, an unsurpassed voice for human rights, and an unmatched legislator. Her integrity, decency, patriotism, and persistence are awe inspiring, and her selfless service to America has been a gift to the people of this country,” McGovern said.
McGovern, who is a member of House leadership as Chair of the House Rules Committee, also touted Pelosi’s legacy of “upholding democratic principles and human rights around the world.”
“Each time we have traveled abroad to represent the people of the United States, I have been in awe of her tenacity, her courage, and her persistence in doing what is right — no matter what. I’ve seen her stand up to tyrants, bullies, and dictators. She uses her power not to diminish or demean, but to uplift and empower the poor, the oppressed, and the marginalized,” McGovern said.
McGovern highlighted how when traveling to China, the government informed both that they would not be permitted to visit Tibet. Pelosi challenged the government and brought attention to the Tibetan people’s struggle for justice.
“It was a special honor to join her to visit Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on the first American delegation to Ukraine following Russia’s invasion. Speaker Pelosi insisted on doing the right thing, despite the security risks. It was my honor to stand with her, in solidarity with the Ukrainian people, in their fight for freedom, democracy, and peace,” McGovern said of their trip to Ukraine in May.
“On a personal level, Speaker Pelosi has been a friend, a mentor, and an inspiration to my family. Young women like my daughter Molly look up to her as a role model. And because of her history-making leadership, little girls across the country now see a future for themselves here in Congress,” McGovern added.
One-time challenger for the speaker’s gavel, U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Salem, expressed his well wishes to Pelosi on Twitter.
“(Pelosi) will go down in history as a historic Speaker and legendary Democrat. She inspired generations of women and set an example I will use with my two daughters. I am grateful for what she has done, and I am excited to support a new leader who will move us forward,” Moulton wrote.
In 2016 and 2018, Moulton led a small and unsuccessful group of House Democrats who did not want to see Pelosi remain as speaker, instead favoring younger leadership at the head of the caucus. However, Moulton backed Pelosi’s re-election as speaker in 2020.
Although she will not be seeking a leadership position, Pelosi said she will continue serving in the House as the representative from San Francisco, California, a position she has held for 35 years.