In an unprecedented, yet long overdue act, Nancy Pelosi, a 15-year veteran of the U.S. House of Representatives, was elected leader of the Democratic minority.
Pelosi’s election marks the first time in U.S. history that a woman has been elected to the position.
It is a historic vote not only for women but for the United States, as well.
It gives a face to the Democrats’ only position of power since the Nov. 5 election when they lost more seats in Congress than predicted, and the president is making a strong Republican showing throughout the states.
Pelosi not only has to lead the Democrats in the House, she must now work to unite them in order to gain a strong foundation for the 2004 election. In this election, Democrats will try to oust the GOP and take up residence in the White House, and regain the majority in Congress.
The challenges facing Pelosi are great for any political leader. Her voting record shows that she voted against using military force in Iraq, but late Wednesday night she voted for the creation of a Department for Homeland Security.
Pelosi has said that it is important Democrats and Republicans work together, echoing similar statements made by the president, regarding non-partisan politics.
Also, elected for the Democratic Party were a Hispanic representative from New Jersey and a black representative who is the former leader of the Congressional Black Caucus.
A strong minority base of power will help to give a face to minority voters’ issues and may help the Democrats secure the minority vote in 2004.
The only way Democrats can get back into the White House is to present a united front.
Pelosi and her new colleagues have the political experience to do just that. And since this historic vote seems to have ushered in a new era, maybe a new sense of cohesiveness can begin, as well.