House Leader Pelosi Speaks At Rutgers

By Justin Lesko

America will see a woman in the White House in 2016, said  House Leader Nancy Pelosi.

The former Speaker of the House discussed this and other issues that women politicians face in front of a full house on March 24 at Trayes Hall on Rutgers’ Douglass Campus.

Pelosi, the highest ranking elected official in the nation’s history, said she expects fellow Democrat to succeed President Barack Obama.

“Hillary will go into the White House as one of the most qualified people to go into the White House, in addition to being a woman,” she said at the discussion sponsored by the Center for American Women and Politics at the Eagleton Institute.

Pelosi said in her first meeting with President Bush as Speaker of the House that she was carrying the legacy of Cady Stanton, Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony and other women who fought for their rights in this country. Of being represented in the White House she said, “At last we were here,” before adding, “We want more.”

She added that women have the talent to be in politics as well as in other powerful positions. “How can it be Fortune 500 and only 20 [CEO’s]are women? The talent is there.”

Her platform involves raising the minimum wage and providing pay equity for men and women that do the same job. Since the Paycheck Fairness Act failed in Congress, she mentioned the statistic that women earn 77 cents for every $1.00 a man earns. Essentially, according to Pelosi, women work three months of the year free compared to men.

Two other necessary components of her plan to help women as professionals include paid sick leave legislation and quality affordable childcare.

“When women succeed, America succeeds,” she said. “When women succeed, New Jersey succeeds.”

Even though her father served in the House and as the mayor of Baltimore, a title her brother also held, Pelosi said she was never interested in running for office until she was asked to in her mid-forties. “Public service was a noble calling and we had a sense to help the community but you did not have to run for office,” said the woman who was the third most powerful person in Washington behind the President and Vice President. “I went from housewife to House Speaker.”