As the Democratic Party starts to rebuild from the losses sustained in Tuesday’s election, House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt (D-MS) is expected to announce today that he will step down as the party’s leader in the US House of Representatives. House Minority Whip Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has put her hat in the ring for the post in a move that could give a considerable boost to women’s rights interests. Pelosi, a longtime friend of the feminist movement, will contend with the more conservative Rep. Martin Frost (D-TX) for this important position.
If elected by the House Democratic caucus, Pelosi would become the first woman and the first Californian to serve as the leader of either party. In October 2001, Pelosi became the highest-ranking woman in the history of the House when she was elected Democratic Whip. She also became the first Italian-American to hold the post.
Pelosi remains staunchly pro-choice and has a strong women’s rights voting record. Her focus in the House has been on international family planning, AIDS prevention, human rights in China, and environmental causes. She is also the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. Pelosi, who hails from San Francisco, represents the 8th Congressional District in California where she has been active in politics since the 1970s.