SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Local U.S. House members Richard Neal and Jim McGovern have both issued statements following the news that Nancy Pelosi will be stepping down as the House Democratic leader.

Pelosi has been leader of the Democratic House since 2003, one of the longest leadership runs in either party since Texas Democrat Sam Rayburn, who died in office in 1961. She became the first women to ever become a House Speaker in 2007 and again in 2019.

Statement from Richard Neal:

“Speaker Nancy Pelosi earned the adage, ‘you never bet against Speaker Pelosi,’ and that’s what makes this announcement so bittersweet. No Speaker of the House has ever achieved more. From her historic rise to the first female Speaker to her long list of accomplishments, she has never wavered from her commitment and service to the American people. Her legacy is unmatched, and she truly is irreplaceable.  

“I am so grateful for the Speaker’s vision, tenacity, and most of all, friendship. We will never be able to properly thank her for all that she has given the caucus, the party, the children, and the people, but we will do our very best as she continues her service to the people of San Francisco.”

Congressman Richard Neal

Statement from Jim McGovern:

“Nancy Pelosi has been, without a doubt, the greatest, most effective speaker in the history of the House of Representatives. Guiding our caucus and the Congress through moments of triumph and tragedy, she has been an iconic leader, an unrelenting champion for children, an unsurpassed voice for human rights, and an unmatched legislator. Her integrity, decency, patriotism, and persistence are awe inspiring, and her selfless service to America has been a gift to the people of this country.

“Speaker Pelosi’s legacy will be felt for centuries to come. Many like to say that she is the hardest working Member in Congress—which is true. But she’s also the smartest worker, and that’s proven by her record of success: The Affordable Care Act. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. The Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform bill. The American Rescue Plan. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. These bills are not talking points—they are landmark achievements that have changed the course of our country’s history and brought us closer to the dream of a more perfect union envisioned by our founders.

“And the Speaker’s leadership does not stop at the water’s edge. There is not a single Member of Congress more dedicated to upholding democratic principles and human rights around the world than Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Each time we have traveled abroad to represent the people of the United States, I have been in awe of her tenacity, her courage, and her persistence in doing what is right—no matter what. I’ve seen her stand up to tyrants, bullies, and dictators. She uses her power not to diminish or demean, but to uplift and empower the poor, the oppressed, and the marginalized. Traveling to China, the government informed us that we would not be permitted to visit Tibet. Speaker Pelosi challenged the government and used her platform to draw attention to the Tibetan people’s struggle for justice. And it was a special honor to join her to visit Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on the first American delegation to Ukraine following Russia’s invasion. Speaker Pelosi insisted on doing the right thing, despite the security risks. It was my honor to stand with her, in solidarity with the Ukrainian people, in their fight for freedom, democracy, and peace.

“On a personal level, Speaker Pelosi has been a friend, a mentor, and an inspiration to my family. Young women like my daughter Molly look up to her as a role model. And because of her history-making leadership, little girls across the country now see a future for themselves here in Congress.

“As the torch now passes to a new generation of American leaders, we say thank you, Speaker Pelosi, for the example you have set for us. It continues to be the honor of a lifetime to serve with you.”

Congressman Jim McGovern