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POLITICS

R.I. Democrats praise Pelosi as she announces she will step down

Congressman Cicilline, whom Pelosi named an impeachment manager, said she was one of the greatest political minds in the country. Congressman-elect Magaziner praised her defense of democracy.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California with impeachment managers Representative David Cicilline, a Rhode Island Democrat, right, and Representative Joaquin Castro, a Texas Democrat, left, speaking to the media during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, after the U.S. Senate voted not guilty, to acquit former President Donald Trump of inciting riot at U.S. Capitol, ending impeachment trial, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021.Manuel Balce Ceneta/Associated Press

Democratic members of Rhode Island’s congressional delegation on Thursday praised House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as she announced she will step down from House Democratic leadership.

“Today is a bittersweet day for our country as we mark the end of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s tenure as the leader of the House Democratic caucus,” US Representative David N. Cicilline said in a statement. “I have been lucky enough to serve with and learn from one of the greatest political minds in our country for the past 12 years and am honored to call her a mentor, and most importantly, a close friend. I remain in constant awe of her brilliance, toughness, and dedication to service.”

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Cicilline, a Rhode Island Democrat, thanked Pelosi for her leadership, saying, “Her trailblazing 35-year tenure in Congress, 19 of those as our caucus’s leader, have been defined by her unwavering commitment to service, the American people, and belief that each of us deserves the chance to live our own American Dream.”

He said Pelosi has supported his work since he first came to Congress in 2011, backing gun safety legislation and LGBTQ+ equality. “I am also grateful for the trust she placed in me to serve as an impeachment manager following the attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021,” he said.

Cicilline said he welcomed Pelosi to Rhode Island many times, and it’s where her grandparents first met. “Having come from big, loving Italian families, we both learned from a young age the importance of putting family first and looking after our neighbors,” he said.

Seth Magaziner, a Rhode Island Democrat who won the Nov. 8 election for the seat that US Representative James R. Langevin is vacating, said Pelosi has “served this country with great distinction and honor” for more than 30 years.

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“She has led the fight to protect democracy here and around the globe, while never losing sight of what matters most: rebuilding the American Dream for working people across the country,” Magaziner said in a statement. “I join my colleagues in Congress and millions of Americans in thanking Speaker Pelosi for her tremendous leadership.”

Langevin, who is leaving after 22 years in office, tweeted his thanks to Pelosi, saying, “Under your leadership, we’ve made historic strides to expand access to health care, combat the climate crisis, protect our kids from gun violence, and so much more. You’ve made America better.”

US Senator Jack Reed noted Pelosi was the first woman to serve as House speaker, saying, “While there will be many more women who lead the US House of Representatives in the future, Nancy Pelosi will always be the first Madame Speaker. She broke that barrier and leaves a legacy of service, principled leadership, and immense contribution to the nation.”

Reed, a Rhode Island Democrat, congratulated Pelosi on a “remarkable, historic, trailblazing career,” saying, “On so many issues — climate change, our intelligence community, health care, education, Wall Street reform, equal pay, the American Rescue Plan and the Inflation Reduction Act — Speaker Pelosi was a driving force that not only compelled progress, but brought it to the floor for a vote, and built the coalitions to get it across the finish line.”

Reed offered well wishes to Pelosi’s husband, whom he said “continues to recover from that brutal, cowardly attack on their home.”

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Paul Pelosi, 82, was attacked and beaten with a hammer by a man who broke into the couple’s San Francisco home on Oct. 28 and searched for the House speaker, reportedly yelling “Where is Nancy? Where is Nancy?”

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a Rhode Island Democrat, tweeted his appreciation of Pelosi, saying, “History will remember the wise and masterful @SpeakerPelosi as one of the most effective legislators Congress has ever seen.”

Whitehouse also tweeted a signed framed photo of Pelosi pointedly addressing former President Donald Trump from across a meeting table. “She may be stepping down but the picture stays,” he wrote.

This report was updated with comments from Senator Jack Reed, Representative James R. Langevin, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse.


Edward Fitzpatrick can be reached at edward.fitzpatrick@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @FitzProv.