(NewsNation) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced she will not be seeking another term as leader of House Democrats.
“Never did I think I’d go from homemaker to House speaker,” Pelosi said as she spoke about her memories of the Capitol, from visiting as a child with her father to serving as a representative.
Pelosi praised the Democratic Party’s shift to a more diverse body, noting that when she was first elected there were only 12 women in the caucus. Now there are 90.
“For me, the hour has come for a new generation to lead the Democratic caucus that I so deeply respect,” Pelosi said.
Democratic lawmakers crowded around
Pelosi after her speech, many of them visibly emotional.
Pelosi was first elected to Congress in 1987 and became the first female speaker of the House in 2007. She’s been in a leadership role for the Democratic Party for 19 years, but younger members of the party have been calling for change.
Pelosi, along with Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland and Democratic Whip James Clyburn of South Carolina, are long-serving members of the House and worked together to lead the Democratic caucus.
All now in their 80s, the three House Democratic leaders have faced restless colleagues eager for them to step aside and allow a new generation to take charge.
Pelosi previously pledged that she would not lead the party past January 2023, turning the reins of power over to others.
Earlier this year, Pelosi’s husband was attacked in their San Francisco home by an intruder who was reportedly looking for Pelosi.
After Pelosi’s announcement, Hoyer also announced he will not be seeking another leadership role and Clyburn said in a statement he will do what he can to help a new generation of House leadership.
When it comes to replacing current leadership, Reps. Hakeem Jeffries of New York, Katherine Clark of Massachusetts and Pete Aguilar of California have been named as potential successors.
NewsNation’s Washington, DC, Bureau Chief Mike Viqueira said it looks like Jeffries, who would be the first Black leader of the party, will get the role as minority leader.
“It appears everyone is falling in line now behind Jeffries,” he said.
Viqueira said Clark is a likely candidate for minority whip, while Aguilar could be elected to serve as caucus chair.
Reactions to her announcement came in from Democrats and those across the aisle, including former Speaker Paul Ryan, who tweeted “I tip my cap as I welcome @speakerpelosi to the former speaker’s club and congratulate her on a historic career in the House.”
“History will note that she is the most consequential Speaker of the House of Representatives in our history. There are countless examples of how she embodies the obligation of elected officials to uphold their oath to God and country to ensure our democracy delivers and remains a beacon to the world,” President Joe Biden said of Pelosi in a statement.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.