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Pelosi Remarks at Feminist Majority Luncheon Honoring Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro’s Leadership

Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks at the Feminist Majority’s Women, Money, Power Summit Luncheon highlighting Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro’s 20 year career as a champion for women and families.  Below are the Leader’s remarks:

“Thank you all very much.  Thank you very much, Peg Yorkin.  That was the beginning of a wonderful friendship – Barbara and I with Roz [Myman] and with you.  And I have been present at many of those landmarked birthdays ever since – hard to believe as they are.  But in the course of those 24 years, oh 26 years since then, since the founding of Feminist Majority, the difference that Peg Yorkin has made has been considerable.  And so it’s been fabulous. 

“I’m here to say thank you to Peg Yorkin, to say thank you to Eleanor Smeal for her leadership of even more years than that, and to thank the Feminist Majority for making such a tremendous difference in our country about the respect that people should have for the decisions that women make for themselves, personally, professionally, and in every way. 

“Peg Yorkin has been, shall we say, a very candid friend. 

[Laughter]

“Does that sound familiar to anyone who knows her?  She is a great respecter of time.  She doesn’t waste it.  She just gets right to the point and with her values that are deeply rooted with her intellect that is so broad with her thinking and her strategic thinking and her political astuteness.  She has been a national treasure and she is a suffragist in her own right at this time.  Thank you, Peg Yorkin for being so wonderful in every way. 

[Applause]

“And then we have Eleanor Smeal and I have respected her for so very many, many years.  We have all learned from her and thank you, Ellie.  As well Kathy Spillar, the Vice President of Feminist Majority who welcomed us all here to this lunch.  I’m pleased to be here with Dolores Huerta.  Dolores where are you? 

[Applause]

“Dolores Huerta!  She’s going to be giving an award and I want to congratulate all of the awardees: my girlfriend, [Texas State] Senator Leticia Van de Putte and Dr. Lee and Mary Carhart for their courage and rest.  And I just have one more honoree who isn’t here, Julie Burkhart.  So, let’s congratulate all of them – if you will, one by one. 

“You have no idea what it is like down at the Capitol.

[Laughter]

“And I’m glad you don’t.  All the things I wanted to say about 165 years ago at Seneca Falls and the rest of that I won’t because [Congresswoman] Rosa [DeLauro], she’s doing this.  She’s got to be at the floor because she’s going to manage a bill where she stops an assault on Head Start. 

[Applause]

“Whether the subject is Head Start, or our economic women’s agenda – When Women Succeed, America Succeeds: An Economic Agenda for Women and America’s Families – Rosa DeLauro is the source, she is the source.  She has a way of working with the Feminist Majority and other organizations to prioritize pay, fair pay.  She is the author of the Lilly Ledbetter bill.  She’s the author of the Paycheck Fairness bill.  She’s relentless in support of the equal pay, but also raising the minimum wage.  Sixty-two percent of women are the ones who get minimum wage in most states, so thank you Rosa.  Whether it’s paid sick leave – oh my gosh, she has the bill.  Whether it’s child care.  We think pay, paid leave, and child care will make the biggest difference in lifting people up.

[Applause]

“Now, there’s so much I can say about her…

[Applause]

“But she’s giving me the look…

[Laughter]

“And so here’s what I’m going to say: there’s nobody like her in the world.  We’re all unique but this is like from another planet.  She is relentless.  Whether the subject is Head Start, food stamps, again equal pay, you name it, Rosa is there for a better future for our country to lift up our children [and] to have fairness in our system. 

“So, I want to tell you this story because she started back with the Head Start.  She started this – When Women Succeed, America Succeeds – and we had like 17 events around the country.  And one a couple of days ago, a young woman got up to talk about what Head Start meant to her.  She was a young woman, she had five kids.  Well, she was young to me, anyway, but she had like five children and she talked about Head Start and how Head Start enabled her to work and that’s our thing: children learning, parents earning. 

“So then, she got made like head of the PTA for her region and all this respect for this woman, this immigrant woman and on the margins economically and now she was the head of this and her leadership was being recognized.  So we invited her to speak about the importance of Head Start at our event the other day.  And she got up there and she talked and at the end she said: ‘I have to tell you this story: last night I had my children gather around and I read my speech to them, I practiced my speech to them about the importance of Head Start and my little girl who is four years old, who is in Head Start said at the end of the speech: Mom, I just have one question.  I said: Well say.  She said: Who gave you permission to use my name in the speech?’

[Laughter]

“Go, Head Start!  You go girl!

[Laughter]

“Well, again, Head Start, food stamps, nutrition, you name it, nobody, nothing could have a better champion than Rosa.  And she’s in a position to make such a tremendous difference as the Senior Democrat on the Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Committee in the House of Representatives.  I am very, very honored to that.  What my colleagues will say, Rosa says that over and over again when she will get up about Head Start, she’s advocated great reinforcement.  And while you may have heard her say something over and over again, you never see her wear the same outfit twice.

[Laughter]

“And now, please Rosa come up!”

[Applause]