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Baltimore native Nancy Pelosi says she's stepping aside as House Democratic leader, Maryland leaders react

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BALTIMORE -- Leaders across Maryland are applauding Baltimore native Nancy Pelosi after she announced Thursday she would step down as the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives after two decades as head of the Democratic caucus. 

Pelosi will remain in the House after winning a 19th term last week, assuming a lower-profile role when the next Congress convenes in January. 

"Now we must move boldly into the future, grounded by the principles that have propelled us this far and open to fresh possibility for the future," Pelosi said, adding, "with great confidence in our caucus, I will not seek reelection to Democratic leadership in the next Congress."

Pelosi was born in Baltimore and attended high school at the Institute of Notre Dame. Her father, Thomas D'Alesandro Jr., and brother Thomas D'Alesandro III were once mayors of Baltimore City.

Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland said Thursday  

"Nancy Pelosi has been one of the strongest and most effective Speakers in U.S. history. Coming from Baltimore, this should surprise no one," Senator Ben Cardin said in a statement. "Publicly and privately, she has moved mountains as a leader and has been a role model for my granddaughters and young people nationwide for her intelligence and strategic thinking."

"Her skill as a legislator and public servant kept coalitions together when no one else thought it possible" Cardin continued. "She may be relinquishing her official title as leader of the House Democrats, but she will always be a leader of this nation."

Senator Chris Van Hollen, calling Pelosi a "daughter of Baltimore," acknowledged Pelosi's legacy.  

"Not only did Speaker Pelosi make history as the first woman Speaker of the House, but as the most effective Speaker ever. This daughter of Baltimore has been the fearless force behind much of the progress we have made in the 21st century," Van Hollen. "Her legacy is forever etched in our nation's history. I am grateful for her service to the American people and for the opportunity to have worked alongside her on their behalf."

While Pelosi said in 2018 that she would limit her term as Democratic leader to four years, a pledge that appeased enough members of her party to secure the speaker's gavel once more, she has been pushed to reconsider after the "red wave" expected for Republicans did not happen.

The speaker told CNN on Sunday that her Democratic colleagues had asked her to "consider" running in the caucus' leadership elections, set to begin at the end of the month, but she said any decision on whether to do so will be "rooted in the wishes of my family and the wishes of my caucus."

President Joe Biden also asked Pelosi to stay in office, telling the California Democrat after she won her own reelection bid that "I hope you stick," according to Politico.

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