Updated at 10:15 am EST
“A picture is worth 1,000 words,” Nancy Pelosi said today, standing alongside several women elected anew to the House of Representatives. This picture, she said, is worth millions of votes.
“I come here with my sisters,” Pelosi said. “When I came to Congress 25 years ago, there were 23 members who were women….. Today we have over 60 House Democratic women… Very good, not enough — we want more.”
The California congresswoman, former speaker of the House when Democrats ruled and minority leader since Republicans took charge, told her party’s caucus today that she will continue to seek their support as leader.
Maryland Democrat Elijah Cummings reports big applause inside the closed-door caucus room when Pelosi reported that she intends to remain as Democratic leader. Her actual re-election by the caucus will come after Thanksgiving.
“I am delighted Nancy Pelosi decided to stay,” California Democrat Henry Waxman told reporters. He called her “the most effective speaker” he had served under.
Pelosi, deposed as speaker after the 2010 mid-term elections delivered House control to Republicans, had refused to reveal her plans until she met today with fellow House Democrats. She held a morning news conference to make her announcement.
Her decision to remain as minority leader follows the second consecutive election in which Democrats won a minority of seats in the 435-seat House. In January, the House will seat as many as 200 Democrats, with the number uncertain in contests still unsettled.
Pelosi also announced that New York Rep. Steve Israel will seek another term as chair of the House Democratic campaign effort.
“Why is it important for us to make this statement about the importance of women?” Pelosi said at her appearance — because they represent the hopes of American families. “The point is, that if America is going to reach its fulfillment as a nation, we must have the full empowerment of women.”