Home / Media / News

Aug 2, 2023

Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi Addressed State Legislators During NHCSL Summer Convening

Check out the photos of the event here.

San Francisco, CA – On the last day of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL) 2023 Summer Executive Committee and BBA Meeting, Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi (CA-11) gave a keynote speech where she addressed the importance of protecting the right to vote and encouraging voting for legislators to be able to pass significant legislation, the Biden-Harris Administration legislative achievements, the importance of diversity in decision-making spaces, and her appreciation for the work that state legislators do.

“If we’re able [to safeguard voting] we’ll be able to pass bills to protect our children from gun violence, to have lower costs for our prescription drugs. We’ve made some progress, we’ve kicked open the door, but we’ve got to get to walk through it”, she stated.

To the agreement of all in attendance, Speaker Emerita Pelosi remarked that public service “is not for the faint of heart”, quoting former President Theodore Roosevelt: “[Roosevelt] said that when you get into the arena, you are no longer a spectator. You have to be able to take a punch, and throw a punch, for the children, because that’s why we got into the arena.”

“1 in 5 children go to bed hungry in America, how could that be in the best country that ever existed in the history of the world? So, for the children, I am in the arena, and I take my punches [for them].”

She also recounted the legislative record of the Biden-Harris Administration to reduce inflation and unemployment, mentioning landmark bills like the Inflation Reduction Act, the PACT Act, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, among others, and raising that “in every one of the bills, it was important to add a justice piece. That there would be resources and policy that said ‘this would be done with more diversity’; whether it’s infrastructure, to say, we’re no longer dividing a neighborhood by infrastructure, we’re taking down those things that divide [them]. And the decisions will be made with more diversity sitting at the decision-making table to build the future.”

“Diversity improves the quality of the decisions”, sentenced the Speaker Emerita.

Additionally, she also recounted her career’s beginning as party chair for Northern California and later as head of the California Democratic Party and added “I love the state legislatures because of its immediacy to the people. [The California Legislature] is my political home”, and encouraged state legislators to follow their passions, naming democracy, climate change and health care as examples, but doing so fully prepared and knowledgeable of the topic to be leaders in their communities and states, and to work to bring our country together.

Mentioning the legislative work done in the past two years, Speaker Emerita Pelosi asserted that “we were working to honor the vision of our Founders, to sacrifice of our men and women in uniform for our freedom, and the aspirations of our children. Since I was a little girl, my favorite line in the national anthem was ‘and our flag was still there’. We have to make sure that, in what we do, our flag is still there, and I assume everyone shares that view.”

She also welcomed that the NHCSL 2023 Summer Executive Committee and BBA Meeting was held in San Francisco, and quoted the city’s patron saint, St. Francis of Assisi’s, anthem: “Make me an instrument of your peace: where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light”, mentioning how this precept guides so many of the public servants from the city.

After her remarks, NHCSL’s President Sen. Nelly Pou-NJ and Executive Director Kenneth Romero presented Speaker Emerita Pelosi with a copy of Mujeres: nuestra historia, a book that highlights the history of women and tells the stories of bold leaders that continue leaving a strong footprint and a legacy for future generations throughout the world. “As a country, we are so thankful for your years of service. Our Nation is so much stronger because of you. Gracias”, said Sen. Pou.

The National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators will convene again from November 30th to December 3rd for its 2023 Annual Summit in the city of Philadelphia.