WASHINGTON, Jan. 4, 2007 -- Nancy Pelosi made history today, surrounded by a throng of cheering children and her congressional colleagues, as she became the first woman speaker of the House of Representatives.
Pelosi, 66, reflected on her personal journey and the historic journey of all American women "from the kitchen to the Congress."
Pelosi, who is a grandmother of six, banged the gavel to begin the 110th session of Congress and her term as speaker and third in line to the presidency.
"We have made history, now let us make progress for the American people," she said.
Pelosi spent much of the day reintroducing herself today to the American public. While some Republicans have painted her as a San Francisco liberal, she is reminding the country that she is Nancy D'Alesandro Pelosi, Italian-American Catholic, mother of five and native of Baltimore, where her father was mayor.
She arrived on the House floor Thursday with all six grandchildren in tow, including the youngest, born in early November just days after the election.
"I was raised in a large family that was devoutly Catholic, deeply patriotic, proud of our Italian-American heritage, and staunchly Democratic," Pelosi said. "My parents taught us that public service was a noble calling."
After her election to speaker by a vote of 233-202, along strict partisan lines, a beaming Pelosi stood holding her sleeping infant grandson and shook hands as she accepted congratulations from her fellow House members.
"By electing me as speaker you have brought us closer to the ideal of equality that is America's heritage and America's hope," Pelosi said. "This is an historic moment -- for the Congress, and for the women of America. It is a moment for which we have waited more than 200 years. Never losing faith, we waited through the many years of struggle to achieve our rights."
"For our daughters and granddaughters, today we have broken the marble ceiling," she said. "For our daughters and our granddaughters now, the sky is the limit."