Copyright © 2006 Henrietta W. Hay
Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House
November 17, 2006
For years it was my ambition to live until we have a woman as President of the United States. But let's face it. The chances are probably down pretty far. This year, however, we have come a lot closer than ever
before. A woman is Speaker of the House of Representatives, an office which makes her third in the line of succession to the President. It has taken 86 years for women to get from being allowed to vote to a position near the top of the power structure.
The morning after election was a very happy one in 2006. Colorado is a blue state this year. I have been listening to so many -- too many -- excuses and alibis in an effort to explain the huge Democratic success in 2006. But the American people were mad and scared and tired of hearing about American deaths in Iraq. And they said so. Loudly.
Nancy Pelosi is the first woman to become Speaker of the House of Representatives. At last one of us has cracked the glass ceiling. In fact, she has broken clear through it. That does not mean that it is going to be an easy job. The glass will be very sharp.
Nancy Palosi was born in 1940 in Baltimore's Little Italy. She was the last of six children, the only girl. That would have given her good training in working with males. Her father, Thomas J. D'Alesandro
was mayor of Baltimore for three terms and later her brother served in the House of Representatives. She was stuffing envelopes and running errands at Democratic headquarters from a very early age. She received her degree from Trinity College. In 1962 she married Paul Pelosi and was the mother of five by 1969, the same year the family moved across the country to San Francisco.
Busy as she was while her children were small, she always found time for Democratic politics. She was an expert money raiser and was always active in the party. In 1978 she became Chair of the California Democratic Party.
She was elected to the House in 1987. In 2001, she became the first woman Democratic Whip, and in 202 was chosen the first woman chosen to be Democratic House Leader. Pelosi has referred to her rise within the party ranks as breaking through a "marble ceiling," a phrase that she feels reflects the difficulty for women to rise to positions of power within national government, according to the Associated Press.
There are 435 members of the House of Representatives. Seventy of them, or 15% will be women in the 110th Congress. That means that 365 of the members are men who have never served under a female Speaker. They are about to get a taste of the future.
Can she do the job? Of course she can. She is intelligent, politically experienced, cooperative -- and tough when she needs it.
She has been a strong and effective leader of the Democrats in the House for five years. She is a strong supporter of women's rights but she also works effectively with men.
Diana DeGette, Congresswoman from Denver says that Pelosi is extraordinarily skilled in politics. She added, "She's tough. Oh yeah, she's tough."
Pelosi is going to hit the ground running and will be a fine leader in a very perilous time.
Am I going to see a woman President? There are several women in the wings, so who knows!