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Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House, announced Thursday that she was stepping down as leader of the House Democrats.
Pelosi made history as the first woman Speaker in the history of the United States. She has held the post for eight years.
“My colleagues, I stand before you as Speaker of the House – and a proud American, a member of the greatest republic in the history of the world.”
“Indeed American democracy is majestic, but it is fragile,” Pelosi said. “Democracy must be forever defended from forces that would do it harm.”
Pelosi stated that the American people voted in the midterms to “protect Democracy.”
“While we will have our disagreements on policy,” she continued, “we must always put our country first.”
Pelosi reflects on the progress achieved during her time in Congress
Pelosi noted that, over her three decades in the house, she has seen the chamber reflect the makeup of America.
“The new members of our Democratic caucus will be about 75% women, people of color and LGBTQ,” Pelosi noted.
“When I first entered this chamber in 1982, never would I have thought that I would go from homemaker to house speaker,” she noted. “It’s been my privilege to play a part in forging extraordinary progress for the American people.”
“Our founders knew we had to be united as one.”
Pelosi called on the country “to move boldly into the future”.
“My friends, no matter what title you have bestowed upon me, there is no greater honor to me than to stand on this floor speaking for the people of San Francisco. This I will continue to do.”
The Speaker announced she will remain in Congress, but will not seek a leadership role in the future.
“For me, the hour has come for a new generation to lead the caucus that I do deeply respect.”
“Standing here today,” she continued, “I am tremendously grateful for all of life’s blessings… A new day is dawning on the horizon, and I look forward to the great story of our nation still unfolding.”
Hakeem Jeffries, the Congressman from New York, is considered the favorite in the race to replace Pelosi. If so, he would be the first Black person to serve as the leader of a House caucus in the country’s history.