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California’s Most Powerful Politician

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Before running for office in 1987, Nancy Pelosi raised five children and worked for decades as a Democratic Party volunteer. (Chris Buck / For The Times)
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“Little Nancy,” 6, holds the Bible as her father, Tommy D’Alesandro Jr., is sworn in as mayor of Baltimore in 1947. From her father, she learned how to organize a campaign from the street level up, how to count votes, how to build relationships, forge coalitions and cash in favors. As a Pelosi friend puts it: “Nancy’s life was a dress rehearsal for what she’s doing now.” (Associated Press)
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Politics has always been a part of life for Pelosi. She attends a United Nations dinner with then-Sen. John F. Kennedy in an undated photo. (Associated Press)
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From her father, she learned how to organize a campaign from the street level up, how to count votes, how to build relationships, forge coalitions and cash in favors. As a Pelosi friend puts it: “Nancy’s life was a dress rehearsal for what she’s doing now.” (AFP / Tim Sloan)
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As the new House minority leader, San Francisco Democrat Nancy Pelosi holds the highest congressional post ever attained by a woman. How did she get there? Learning at the feet of her father, legendary Baltimore politician Tommy D’Alesandro Jr., didn’t hurt. (Chris Buck / For The Times)
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Born and raised in Baltimore, Nancy Pelosi learned the meaning of tough. (Andrea Ventura / For The Times)
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