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Democrat Nancy Pelosi became the Speaker of the House of Representatives on 4 January 2007. She is the first woman ever to hold the post. Pelosi graduated from Trinity College in Washington, D.C. in 1962, then married businessman Paul Pelosi and moved to his native San Francisco. She worked her way up through the state Democratic party before entering Congress after a special election in California's 8th District in 1987. The 8th District, which includes much of San Francisco, is considered one of the more liberal districts in the United States, and thus Pelosi has often been accused of extreme liberalism by her political opponents. She was named Minority Leader in November of 2002, becoming the first woman to lead a political party in the history of the U.S. Congress. After Democrats won control of the House of Representatives in the national elections of November 2006, she was elected Speaker of the House for the session beginning in 2007.

Pelosi graduated from Trinity College in Washington, D.C., in 1962. While a student there, she met Paul Pelosi. The two later married and moved to San Francisco. They had five children: Nancy Corinne, Christine, Jacqueline, Paul, and Alexandra. Focused on raising her family, Pelosi got into politics slowly, starting out as a volunteer for the Democratic Party. She hosted parties and helped with campaigns. Pelosi rose up in the party ranks, serving as a California representative to the Democratic National Committee from 1976 to 1996. She also served as the state and northern chair of the California Democratic Party.

In 1987, Pelosi made the leap to public office, winning a special election for California’s Eighth District, which includes San Francisco. As a member of the House of Representatives, she has served on the Appropriations Committee and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Pelosi has been a strong supporter of increased funding for health research and for other health care and housing programs and initiatives. She is also an advocate for human rights and the environment.

Pelosi has emerged as one of the leading Democrats in Congress. In 2002, Pelosi was selected to be the Democratic Leader of the House of Representatives, making her the first woman in history to do so. Four years later, she again broke new ground for women in U.S. politics. After the Democrats won majorities in both the House and the Senate in the 2006 midterm elections, Pelosi was chosen to become the first woman to take the post of Speaker of the House. 

A vocal critic of President George W. Bush’s stance on the war in Iraq, Pelosi has asked for a withdrawal of U.S. troops from the region. Since being elected Speaker, she has met with Bush to discuss how to work cooperatively to resolve some of the nation’s pressing problems. In her new position, Pelosi will continue to lobby for what she calls “a new direction for America.” This plan includes the development of better paying jobs, access to college education and affordable health care for all, and revised energy policy that focuses on cleaner, more efficient domestic alternatives.