Press Release

AFT President Randi Weingarten Reacts to Pelosi’s Announcement that She Will Step Down as Speaker and Pass Torch, Praises Her Historic Leadership

For Release:


Oriana Korin

WASHINGTON—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten issued the following statement after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that she would relinquish her position as head of the Democratic caucus:

“Nancy Pelosi will always be Madam Speaker. She will be seen through the lens of history as one of the best—if not the best—legislators and speakers of the House. She is a masterful legislator, an iconic leader, a brilliant strategist and a trailblazer. In her four terms as House speaker, she has led Democrats—and in fact, our entire democracy—through historic change, serving as the chief architect of generation-defining legislation that improved the lives of millions of Americans, from the Affordable Care Act and lowering prescription costs, to increasing the minimum wage and protecting retirement savings. She has never backed down from a fight on behalf of people, particularly children, whether it’s protecting our sacred right to vote, standing up for investments in infrastructure and education, tackling climate change, stewarding an everlasting commitment to upholding our democratic principles, or cleaning up corruption in Washington so that those elected will do the work of the people, not the powerful. And it was Speaker Pelosi who brilliantly steered the American Rescue Plan through Congress, always making good on her promise to remember the children—to help families and communities weather the hardships of the pandemic, and to help reopen school buildings safely and get teachers the resources to support their students.

“Speaker Pelosi often calls me her sister. Today, I stand in deep awe and appreciation of my sister, a person of deep faith and deep patriotism, who has done so much for our country and is now stepping back like the gifted educator and mentor she is. It is one of the great honors of my life to have worked alongside her to help make this country better.

“Speaker Pelosi has always created the space for others to grow and succeed, and I look forward to continuing that work with the next generation of congressional leaders.”

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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.