Pelosi Plans to Stay Tuned To Both Washington and S.F.
Jerry Roberts, Political Editor
PUBLICATION: THE SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
DATE: June 3, 1987
Newly elected Representative Nancy Pelosi plans to be a bicoastal congresswoman who champions gay rights and labor in Washington and keeps in close touch with politics back home.
“My congressional service will be marked by everybody in the district being part of the decision-making process,” Pelosi said in an interview.
Pelosi, a 47-year-old former state Democratic Party chairman and a mother of five, won election last night to the House of Representatives seat formerly held by the late Sala Burton.
A longtime political insider who grew up as the daughter of a successful Democratic politician in Baltimore, Pelosi will take her oath of office on June 9. Then she will complete the remainder of Burton’s two-term year and face re-election next year.
With four of her children in school in Washington, Pelosi plans to rack up a lot of frequent flier points on cross-country flights, working in the capital all week and coming home to the district on weekends to see her husband and her youngest daughter, who is still in high school here.
Pelosi said she will waste little time getting to her official duties and plans to quickly co-sponsor legislation that will show she is serious about her campaign promises to gay, labor, environmental and peace groups.
“I hope to continue the Burton tradition” of strong support for labor issues, Pelosi told a luncheon of buildings trades union leaders last week.
In an interview, she also said she plans to co-sponsor legislation, some of it already pending in Congress, supporting an offshore oil drilling moratorium, arms control and several conservation bills. But her first priority, she said, will be to “co-sponsor a gay civil rights bill.”
After winning a bruising primary against gay Supervisor Harry Britt, Pelosi spent considerable time in the last few weeks mending fences in the gay community, which will be watching closely to see how she delivers for San Francisco on the AIDS issue.
“The gay community is one place where there was considerable opposition to me,” Pelosi said. “In time, performance on my part is the best way to have them accept me.”
Among her first acts, Pelosi said, will be to appoint a “medical professional” to her staff to monitor AIDS matters. She also has held lengthy meetings with the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and other experts to prepare herself to act as an advocate on AIDS financing and policy issues.
“I want to be fully prepared to lobby for the fullest amount of money possible and focus on that,” she said. “I also want to try to evaluate the ability of certain institutions of government to respond to the AIDS crisis. What is the Centers for Disease Control doing? In my view, it’s not living up to its job. We have an epidemic that is not being addressed. What are they waiting for?”
She said she also intends to become involved in the U.S. Senate campaign of Lieutenant Governor Leo McCarthy, which she called “my first priority after my own election.”
Pelosi made it clear that she intends to use the advantage of incumbency to remain highly visible in local political circles.
“I’ll obviously be having town hall meetings driven by constituent services,” she said. “In addition to that, I hope to hold political meetings that are issue-oriented and address presidential politics and Democratic politics.”
“Basically, my attitude is we want to have a lot of the solutions and ideas and attitudes spring from the district rather than from Washington, D.C.”