Nancy Pelosi might have lost some of her power when the Democrats lost control of the House in 2010, but underestimate her power at your own peril. Formerly the Speaker of the House from 2007-11, she is arguably the highest-ranked elected female politician in the history of the United States.
Pelosi’s elected political career started in 1987, although she had been involved in party politics since 1976. She was elected to represent California’s 5th Congressional district from 1987-93. In 1993, she began representing California’s 8th Congressional district, where she serves to this day. In 2002, she was elected the House Minority Whip, second-in-command to House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt. When Gephardt left the House to seek out the Democratic presidential nomination in 2003, Pelosi was selected to be the new minority leader, becoming the first female to hold that post. When she was selected to be the 60th speaker of the House in 2007, she was the first woman to hold that position as well.
Even as minority leader, Pelosi is known as a shrewd politician and powerful party fundraiser, particularly for other Democratic candidates, since her district is one of the most Democrat-dominated in the country. She has been a staunch supporter of liberal policies, and was critical in getting Obama’s health care plan passed.