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The origins of Speaker Pelosi's political savvy

Madame Speaker cover
Credit: Grand Central Publishing

Growing up in Baltimore’s Little Italy, Nancy D’Alesandro never pictured herself running for office. She watched her father campaign for Congress and for mayor; she helped her mother with the nitty-gritty of organizing and keeping track of political favors.

Biographer Susan Page says that only after Nancy Pelosi had moved across the country, raised five children, chaired the California Democratic Party and raised millions for other candidates did she run for Congress herself--and a decade later pushed herself onto the path toward speaker.

Pelosi told Page her father’s advice resonated,“No one is going to give you power, you have to seize it. So even if you think you deserve power, don’t think you’re going to be rewarded. You have to go out and fight for it and win it.”

You can hear more from Susan Page next month. She’s hosting the White House Historical Association's 2021 Lecture Series. On November 3rd, she’ll be discussing the association’s history.

This interview originally aired on July 15, 2021.

Sheilah Kast is the host of On The Record, Monday-Friday, 9:30-10:00 am.
Maureen Harvie is senior producer for On the Record. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and joined WYPR in 2014 as an intern for the newsroom. Whether coordinating live election night coverage, capturing the sounds of a roller derby scrimmage, interviewing veterans, or booking local authors, she is always on the lookout for the next story.