Pelosi Remarks Before Passing Gavel to Speaker Paul D. Ryan

October 29, 2015
Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks today in the House Chamber following the election of Congressman Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin as Speaker of the House of Representatives.  Below are the Leader’s remarks as delivered:

“My dear colleagues of the 114th Congress of the United States.  Today, as every day, we come to this Floor strengthened and inspired by the support of our colleagues, the trust of our constituents and the love of our families.  My special thanks to my husband, Paul; our five children; our nine grandchildren, and the entire Pelosi and D’Alesandro families for their support.  My deep gratitude to the people of San Francisco for the continued honor they give me to represent them here.  And my heartfelt thanks to my Democratic colleagues for once more extending to me the honor of the nomination for Speaker of the House.


“Today, we bid farewell to a Speaker who has served his constituents and this Congress with honor for 25 years: Speaker John Boehner.


“In his story, we are reminded of the enduring, exceptional promise of America – this hard-working son of an Ohio bartender and owner, who grew up to be Speaker of the House of Representatives.

“John Boehner talked about the American Dream.  John Boehner, you are the personification the American Dream.  As you all know, Speaker Boehner was a formidable spokesman for the Republican agenda.  He was always true and loyal to the members of his conference in any negotiation.  Although we had our differences – and often – I always respected his dedication to this House and his commitment to his values.

“Thank you, John, for your leadership and courage as Speaker.  Your graciousness as Speaker extended and was reflected in your staff – under the leadership of Mike Sommers, whom we all respect.  Thank you to John Boehner’s staff.


“And I know I speak for everyone here, Democrats and Republicans, when I thank you for making the visit of Pope Francis such a meaningful and beautiful experience for all of us.  Today, we extend our thanks and congratulations to Debbie, your daughters Lindsay and Tricia, and the entire Boehner family – now including grandson Alistair.  Let’s hear it for the family of John Boehner.


“On behalf of House Democrats, and personally, I wish you and your family all of God’s blessings in glorious years ahead.

“Last month, we witnessed something truly special when Pope Francis made history addressing a Joint Session of Congress.  Standing right here, Pope Francis called on us to seek hope, peace & dialogue for all people, and reminded us of our duty to find a way forward for everyone.

“’A good political leader,’ His Holiness said, ‘is one who, with the interests of all in mind, seizes the moment in a spirit of openness and pragmatism.’  With the interests in mind of all.

“Pope Francis echoed the principle our Founders placed at the heart of our democracy: E Pluribus Unum – ‘from many, one.’  The Founders could never have imagined how vast our country would become, or how diverse the many we would be – ethnically, gender identities, beliefs and priorities.  But they knew we had to be one.

“Every day, in this House and across the country, we pledge allegiance to ‘One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.’  This is the beauty of America – that for all our honest differences, perspectives and priorities, aired and argued so passionately on this Floor, we are committed to being one nation.  Despite our differences – in fact respecting them, I look forward to clear debate in this great marketplace of ideas: the people’s House of Representatives.

“And so, my fellow colleagues, we have a responsibility to act upon our shared faith in the greatness of our country.  We have a responsibility to be worthy of the sacrifices of our troops, our veterans and our military families.  We have a responsibility to make real the promise of the American Dream for all.

“There is important work before the Congress.  We must do more to promote growth, decrease the deficit, create good-paying jobs and increase the paychecks of America’s hard-working families.

“Today, in this House, a page is turned, and a new chapter has begun.  Today, the gavel passes to a proud son of Wisconsin – the first speaker from Wisconsin.  Paul Ryan has had the full breadth of experience on Capitol Hill – from young staffer, to Tortilla Coast waiter – should I say that again, Tortilla Coast waiter – to Congressman, to being a sincere and proud advocate for his point of view as Chairman of the Budget Committee, as a respected legislator of Chairman of Ways and Means, and in a minute, he will be Speaker of the House of Representatives.


“Mr. Speaker, on behalf of House Democrats, I extend the hand of friendship to you, Speaker Ryan.

“Congratulations to you, Paul, to Janna, your children Liza, Charlie and Sam, your mother – she is here – how proud she must be, and the entire Ryan family.  Mr. Speaker, God bless you and your family.  God bless the United States of America.

“This is the People’s House.  This is the People’s gavel.  In the people’s name, it is my privilege to hand this gavel to the Speaker of the House, the Honorable Paul Ryan.”