House Speaker Nancy Pelosi waves after being elected the first female speaker in 2007. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is a towering figure in American politics with a historic legacy of breaking glass ceilings as the first and so far only woman to serve as Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. United.

She was first elected president in 2007 and served in that role until 2011, when Democrats lost control of the House. In 2019, she was again elected president after Democrats won the House back from Republicans.

A small but vocal faction of Democrats initially worked to derail Pelosi’s bid to become the next speaker after the 2018 midterm elections, but eventually won the votes needed to reclaim the title. Before the final vote, Pelosi deployed her negotiating skills and brokered a deal with some of the Democrats who had lobbied to keep her from speaking. As part of the deal, Pelosi backed a proposal to enact term limits for the party’s top three leaders. The 2018 deal was an informal deal, however, and caucus rules were never changed, placing time limits on its tenure.

Nancy Pelosi celebrates election night in San Francisco, California in 1987.
Nancy Pelosi celebrates on election night in San Francisco, Calif., in 1987. (Eric Luse/The San Francisco Chronicle/Getty Images)

Pelosi was first elected to the House in 1987, when she won a special election to take up a seat representing California’s 5th congressional district. Over the years, she earned a reputation as a powerful and formidable leader of House Democrats who wielded significant influence and a tight grip on her caucus members.

She has also been a fierce opponent of Republicans in Congress and the White House, and Republicans have made her a top target of their party’s critics.

When she was first elected president, Pelosi reflected on the significance of the event and what it meant for women in the United States.

“This is a historic moment,” she said in a speech after accepting the speaker’s gavel. ‚ÄúThis is a historic moment for Congress. This is a historic moment for American women.

Learn more about Pelosi and his political career here.

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