GRAND Magazine - March/April 2019 - 18
At 78, Nancy Pelosi is again Madam
Speaker, the most powerful woman in U.S.
government. After seven years in limbo as
the minority leader of the House, she was
elected Speaker for the second time after the
Democratic win in Congress at the midterm.
She won over the objections of fractious new
members, some of whom had campaigned
on a promise to vote against her. They called
her too liberal, too conservative, or just too
old. But Pelosi's deal-making skills and her
ability to build consensus helped her win by a
substantial margin-even getting the vote of
freshman firebrand Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez.
Wearing a tailored suit, high heels, and
pearls, the woman wielding the gavel is not
only a savvy politician but a devoted mother
and grandmother. She famously gave birth
to five children in six years, and now has nine
grandchildren. All her grandkids attended
her swearing-in in January (a photographer
caught her lovingly brushing one granddaughter's hair before the event).
Once a punch line signaling irrelevancy, her grandma status has
become more of an applause line. After a meeting with President
Trump to negotiate the border wall - which he spontaneously
allowed TV cameras to broadcast. After President Trump stormed
out of a meeting with her and Senate minority leader Chuck
Schumer to negotiate the border wall, Pelosi told reporters, "I'm
the mother of five, grandmother of nine. I know a temper tantrum
when I see one."
Raising five kids so close in age was no joke. But Pelosi honed
her organizational style in her overflowing home. She had to, for
survival! By school age, her kids were packing their own lunches
and snacks. They were expected to pitch in at an early age-even
the preschoolers folded their own laundry.
The experience of motherhood nurtured an understanding
MARCH APRIL 2019
And, if all else failed, there was that look.
Looking back on her own family history, it
seemed that Nancy Pelosi was groomed for
politics. She was born in Baltimore, the only
daughter (out of seven children) of Thomas
"Big Tommy" D'Alesandro, Jr., a Democratic
congressman who became mayor of Baltimore.
In 1963 she married her college boyfriend Paul Pelosi, now a businessman. As
they raised their family in San Francisco, she
became active in Democratic Party politics
and fund-raising. In 1987, when her oldest
child was finishing high school, Pelosi ran for
the House and won.
She has served 17
terms since then.
Pelosi has had
to develop a thick
skin, and she shrugs
off personal attacks.
"Don't take it personally," she says. And
of people that has served Pelosi well in politics. Raising five childon't hold grudges.
dren meant attending to their individual differences and needs.
Much of what
Daughter Christine, quoted in the Washington Post, said, "She's
inspired Pelosi to
used to people wanting to be different and wanting to strive.
get into governShe's used to competition among people." She added, "The shiftment - and to stay
ing dynamics between siblings meant that you had to have a
there -has to do with
sense of harmony and you had to let every day be a new day...a
being a mother and
clean slate." Read more from the Washington Post article here.
grandmother. "I always
The woman who singlehandedly saved Obamacare by buildsaw politics as an
ing a coalition in Congress was used to building consensus at
expansion of my role
as a mom," she said
As a mom, Pelosi contained the chaos with a discipline style
Pelosi and her husban
d, Paul Pelosi,
in an interview with
that was calm but effective, letting the kids know when she was
arrive for a State Dinne
r hosted by
Nancy Schnall for the
disappointed, that she expected better of them. When the sibBarack Obama and
first lady Michelle Huffington Post.
lings disagreed, she would listen, explain her position, and let
Obama - June 7, 20
them decide. The consensus usually went with Mom.
Continued on next page
GRAND Magazine - March/April 2019
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