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California’s Most Powerful Politician

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)
“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)
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)
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)
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)
Born and raised in Baltimore, Nancy Pelosi learned the meaning of tough. (Andrea Ventura / For The Times)
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