House of Representatives Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi graced the stage of the Jack Morton Auditorium at the School of Media and Public Affairs (SMPA) last Tuesday to talk about women in power, pressing issues in American politics and her hopes for the years to come.
The event was held the day after a budget deal was reached, which avoided a government shutdown and suspended the debt limit until 2017. While Pelosi was glad that a compromise was reached, she warned against the Freedom Caucus’ “lack of civility” and said that it’s, “harmful to our democracy.” However, she remained very optimistic about Representative Paul Ryan’s (WI-01) ascension to Speaker of the House.
Leader Pelosi praised President Barack Obama’s leadership and his accomplishments in the economy and healthcare, but said that more needed to be done on climate change and making government more transparent. She added that “distrust of government is a healthy thing,” but regulations are important to protect the nation’s clean air and water.
Describing presidential candidate Ben Carson as “dangerous” and Donald Trump as a “performer,” she lambasted the GOP field. However, she has not yet declared her support for a democratic nominee. She cited Hillary Clinton’s preparedness as a key strength, adding that “there’s nothing ‘establishment’ about being a woman in politics.”
Before departing, she offered some words of wisdom to budding public servants, telling students to develop a unique message. She also challenged them to define their own visions for the future, summing up her words of encouragement by saying “no one can make your contribution but you.”
Leader Pelosi’s visit was the most recent installment in SMPA’s silver anniversary of events. The school’s director, Frank Sesno moderated the event.