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Connecticut politicians respond to Pelosi's decision to step away from House leadership

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., right, talks with Rep. Jahana Hayes, D-Conn., as she leaves the floor after speaking on the House floor at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022.
Carolyn Kaster
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California (right) talks with Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-Conn.) as after speaking on the House floor at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022.

Connecticut politicians are reacting to news that Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi won’t run again for a leadership role in Congress.

Congressman John Larson (D-1st District) called her leadership historic.

“Her unparalleled policy and political skills combined with her unbounded energy are only superseded by her grace, dignity and the humanitarian governance that is the hallmark of her leadership,” Larson said in a statement. “I applaud her decision to pass the torch to a next generation of leaders in the House and she will remain an invaluable asset as we prepare for the 118th Congress.”

Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy called her one of the most productive speakers in history.

“The most important, life-changing thing that I’ve been a part of while I’ve been in Washington was the passage of the Affordable Care Act,” Murphy said. “That would not have happened without Nancy Pelosi almost single-handedly. She made sure that everybody stayed on task to expand health care for 20 million Americans.”

Pelosi said it’s time for a new generation to lead the Democratic Caucus. Murphy said the move wasn’t exactly a surprise.

“She has been the leader of the Democrats in the House for almost 20 years,” he said. ”That’s a long time for somebody to serve in that position, and there’s some really capable, young, new leaders emerging in the House that I think are ready to step up.”

That said, he’s concerned about getting good people into politics to begin with, given the violent political climate. Pelosi’s husband was recently attacked in their home. Murphy blames former President Donald Trump for the national tone.

“I know that this endorsement of political violence by Trump and his followers definitely chills people’s enthusiasm to take part in what I think is still a very noble line of work,” Murphy said.

Republicans will lead the next House with only a slight majority. Pelosi plans to continue to serve her San Francisco district.

Jeff Cohen started in newspapers in 2001 and joined Connecticut Public in 2010, where he worked as a reporter and fill-in host. In 2017, he was named news director. Then, in 2022, he became a senior enterprise reporter.