House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced on Thursday that she isn’t seeking reelection to lead the House Democratic Conference, marking the end of an era.
“I will not seek re-election to Democratic leadership in the next Congress,” Pelosi said in a speech on the House floor. “For me, the hour has come for a new generation to lead the Democratic caucus that I so deeply respect, and I'm grateful that so many are ready and willing to shoulder this awesome responsibility.”
Pelosi will still serve in Congress as congresswoman for California’s 11th Congressional District.
“There is no greater special honor for me than to stand on this floor and to speak for the people of San Francisco,” Pelosi added. “This I will continue to do as a member of the House speaking for the people of San Francisco, serving the great state of California and defending our Constitution.”
Pelosi has served in Congress for over three decades, first being elected to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives after a 1987 special election for what was then California’s 5th Congressional District. Her time in Congress saw her first-ever female House Minority Whip in 2001, first-ever female House Minority Leader in 2003 and the first-ever female Speaker of the House. She served as Speaker for a total of eight years, first from 2007 to 2011, and then again from 2019 until the new Congress begins in January.
During her time as Speaker, Pelosi oversaw major votes such as the Affordable Care Act, both impeachments of President Donald Trump and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
There is often a Rhode Island connection in national politics. Pelosi recently came to Providence to speak at a campaign rally during the 2022 primary elections where she endorsed former CVS Executive Helena Buonanno Foulkes for governor. She also spoke at Brown University’s commencement earlier this year. Pelosi’s grandparents met in Rhode Island, and her college roommate and close friend is Foulkes’ mother, Martha Dodd Buonnanno.
Both House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC) are also stepping down from their leadership positions, guaranteeing a new era of House Democratic leadership.
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), current chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, is expected to be Pelosi’s successor as leader of the Conference, and Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA) is expected to be elected the number two House Democrat .
In the 118th Congress, current House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) will likely be elected Speaker of the House since Republicans flipped the House of Representatives. House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) will be the new house majority leader.