WASHINGTON (AP) — Nancy Pelosi knew this moment would come, even if others had their doubts — or worked to stop her.
Pelosi was elected Thursday as House speaker, the only woman who has held the office and now one of few elected officials who have returned to it. The last time a speaker regained the gavel was more than a half-century ago.
The California Democrat has spent her political career being underestimated, only to prove the naysayers wrong. In this case, it was by winning back the Democratic majority and amassing the votes for the speaker’s job.
“None of us is indispensable,” Pelosi told The Associated Press while campaigning last fall, “but I do know that I’m very good at what I do.”
In accepting the gavel, Pelosi gave nod to the new era of divided government with a pledge to “reach across the aisle in this chamber and across the divisions across our nation.”
She said, “The floor of this House must be America’s Town Hall: where the people will see our debates and where their voices will be heard and affect our decisions.”
In outlining Democratic priorities, she talked about lowering health care costs, investing in green infrastructure and restoring “integrity to government.”
“We must be champions of the middle class and all those who aspire to it — because the middle class is the backbone of our democracy,” she said.