Woman’s Nat’l Democratic Club Welcomes New Congresswomen — and Nancy Pelosi

You could feel the excitement, satisfaction and pride in the Dupont Circle mansion’s large dining room when more than 150 members of the Woman’s National Democratic Club gathered on an almost-snowy night Jan. 31 to greet they-knew-not-how-many-would-show newly elected Congresswomen for a “Welcome to Washington” reception. To their surprise, not only did five legislators show up, but so did the (just) former House Speaker and Democratic heroine Nancy Pelosi – considered by many to be the post powerful woman in U.S. politics today.

It’s doubtful if any of the decades-long WNDC members  like Ellie Newman and Shelly Livingston — who had been coming to the club and the biannual newly-elected legislators welcome reception for decades — had ever seen Pelosi so relaxed, so friendly, so willing and able to linger and chat and take selfies. She gave her usual pep talk of course, full of encouragement to the record number of new Democratic women members of Congress who had been elected to the 118th Congress in November 2022.  Her message to all the women of all ages at the event (and many men as well) was to “speak out and be resilient.” Then, after her remarks, she ambled around the room with a wide smile, chatting about policy and family and posing for photos. 

“It certainly looks like she is thoroughly enjoying not being speaker,” commented a WNDC member to The Georgetowner. “And being the power behind the throne,” remarked another.

The newly elected legislators from across the country seemed equally eager to talk as well individually and collectively to WNDC members who had just celebrated the club’s 100th anniversary in November. Included amongst the animated legislators were first-time elected new members of Congress: Andrea Salinas (Ore.-6), Jasmine Crochet (Texas.-30) and Hilary Scholten (Mich.-7). Representatives Norma Torres (Calif.-30), and Abigail Spanberger (Va.-7) won their fifth terms and third terms in office, respectively.

Nancy Pelosi (Calif.-11) is in her 18th term. The Congresswomen shared with WNDC members and guests, their plans and assigned committees — from agriculture and science to transportation and small business. After their presentations, they gathered with small groups of members to answer questions, take selfies and talk politics.

The overturning of Roe vs. Wade was “like throwing up a bone in a china shop for Democratic women across the country to work on women’s rights and our freedom,” said Crockett. The issue is a priority in Congress this year.

“We’re best when everyone is at the table including men of course,” said Pelosi. “But we all know when women succeed, then everyone succeeds.”

“You never know how these invitational events are going to turn out,” mused Anna Fierst, former WNDC President and a direct descendent of first lady Eleanor Roosevelt who helped to found the club after women had won the right to vote in 1920. 

“The club is just popping right now with energy and enthusiasm,” current president Laura Whitaker said to The Georgetowner with a big grin. “It’s like what Nancy told us. We have to be at the table and ready to take the opportunities when they arise.”

Pelosi, 81, was the first female Speaker of the House in U.S. history. She decided to stay on in Congress after she retired as speaker in December, even while the House is now majority Republican. She lives in Georgetown.

Rep. Jasmine Crockett (D-Texas). Photo by Claire Sandberg.

Club member Jane Schubert, WNDC President Laura Whitaker and Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) Photo by Claire Sandberg.


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