WASHINGTON — When Nancy Pelosi talks about policy and legislation, she often connects the potential impact to “the children,” the next generation.
The California Democrat literally sealed her place in history Wednesday as the first woman speaker of the House with donations to the Smithsonian’s Museum of American history, and her message was no different.
“It’s all about the children; it’s all about the future,” Pelosi said. “To build that future, we need more women engaged in every area of our democracy.”
Pelosi donated five items to the Smithsonian Wednesday that represent her historic accomplishment of being the first woman elected speaker of the House: the burgundy pants suit she wore to her swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 4, 2007; the wooden gavel she received during her swearing-in; her copy of the speech that she read that day; a copy of the congressional record with the speech; and an official vote tally sheet recording the vote in which she was elected speaker.
Her hope is that those items and her story will help “inspire our next generation of trailblazers and change makers.”
That inspiration was something several speakers at the donation ceremony referenced, including House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers.
“No dream is too big, and no goal is too far-fetched,” she said.
Pelosi has recognized the significance of her achievement and the responsibility she bears from the start. During her swearing-in as speaker, Pelosi said she was “surrounded by children” as she shattered the marble ceiling.
“That day I said to our daughters and granddaughters: ‘We made history, now we must make progress,’” she said.
Pelosi is now the House minority leader, hoping to lead Democrats back to the majority in the 2018 midterm elections.
Asked after the ceremony if being around the mementos from her time as speaker made her want to hold the gavel again, she said, “I never thought about being speaker when I was speaker. I was just working. And so I certainly don’t think about it now.”
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