The 33rd Annual Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts and Public Policy
Nancy Pelosi is the 52nd Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, having made history in 2007 when she was elected the first woman to serve as Speaker of the House. Now in her third term as Speaker, Ms. Pelosi made history again in January 2019 when she regained her position second-in-line to the presidency, the first person to do so in more than 60 years.
As Speaker Ms. Pelosi is fighting for the people, working to lower health care costs, increase workers’ pay through strong economic growth and rebuilding America, and clean up corruption to make Washington work for all.
For 32 years Speaker Pelosi has represented San Francisco, California’s 12th District in Congress. She has led House Democrats for 16 years and previously served as House Democratic Whip. In 2013 she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame at a ceremony in Seneca Falls, the birthplace of the American women’s rights movement.
Under Speaker Pelosi’s leadership the 111th Congress was heralded as “one of the most productive Congresses in history” by Congressional scholar Norman Ornstein.
Speaker Pelosi brings to her leadership position a distinguished record of legislative accomplishment. Speaker Pelosi was the architect of the landmark Affordable Care Act, which has guaranteed protections for all Americans with pre-existing medical conditions, ended annual and lifetime limits on health coverage, and provided affordable health coverage for tens of millions more Americans while lowering health care costs over the long term.
In the 111th Congress Speaker Pelosi also led the Congress in passing strong Wall Street reforms to rein in big banks and protect consumers as well as the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, which expands educational opportunities and reforms the financial aid system to save billions of taxpayers’ dollars. Additional key legislation passed into law included the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to restore the ability of women and all workers to access our judicial system to fight pay discrimination, legislation to provide health care for 11 million American children, national service legislation, and hate crimes legislation. In late 2010, Speaker Pelosi led the Congress in passing child nutrition and food safety legislation as well as repealing the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, which prohibited gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military.
Other accomplishments include the passage of historic investments in college aid, ethics and transparency in government, clean energy and innovation, services for Veterans and military caregivers, and initiatives to help small businesses. She has been a powerful voice for civil rights and human rights around the world for decades.
Speaker Pelosi comes from a strong family tradition of public service in Baltimore. Married to Paul Pelosi, she is a mother of five and grandmother of nine.