Nancy Pelosi, the first female speaker of the House, who helped shape many of the most consequential laws of the early 21st century, said Thursday that she will step down after two decades as the Democratic Party’s leader in the chamber.
Pelosi has led House Democrats since 2003, including two four-year stints as speaker.
Her announcement comes after Democrats narrowly lost the majority in the chamber during the midterm elections.
“With great confidence in our caucus, I will not seek re-election to Democratic leadership in the next Congress,” said Pelosi said on Thursday, November 17.
“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.”
“There is no greater special honor for me than to stand on this floor and to speak for the people of San Francisco. 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,” she continued.
The 82-year-old Californian made the announcement on the House floor.
Pelosi was speaker from 2007 to 2011 and returned to the top job in 2019.
Speculation had grown in recent days about Pelosi’s future after her husband, Paul, was violently attacked at their San Francisco home and Democrats lost control of the House of Representatives in the midterm elections.
Pelosi is one of the most powerful lawmakers of her generation or any other, and her departure will rob Democrats of strategic acumen and unmatched fundraising skills.