Women in Government
LHJ: You wrote the foreword for the upcoming book about the Sanchez sisters, Dream in Color. Aside from them, who do you see as the rising female stars in Congress; who do you think may be suited to follow in your footsteps?
NP: I think that we have a wealth of young women, and this is really part of my responsibility as I see it -- to attract many more women to Congress, and especially young women, because it's important for women to come into Congress when they are young . That way -- and this applies in every field -- they can build their seniority and be in a place to spring into great power at the same age that men are able to. There shouldn't be a power gap just because, say, women are home raising their children, as it was in my case. I stayed home with my children until they were grown, and that was fine for me, but it's a different era now. In this new era it's important for me to be a voice for their generation, to be a voice for working young women, in the Congress of the United States. That's very important. So I've made it a special mission to encourage that, and to that end -- well, if I start naming names and I don't name everyone that will be a problem. [Laughs] I'm very proud of the number of young women who are here, raising their families, raising those issues on the House floor, and building their seniority. Anything is possible for them -- leadership in this Congress, leadership in their states, leadership even regarding who could be the next president. Well, not next, but a future president.
LHJ: To what specifically do you attribute your own success?
NP: I took my own advice -- I knew my power. I knew that I could help win these elections, give Congress to the Democrats. I loved my work on the issues and I did want to work in the majority, so when I saw that a new-direction approach was necessary, I stepped into that. I took advantage of that opportunity to just say, on the basis of policy, it is essential that the Democrats win. On the basis of my knowledge of politics, I thought, I am a person who can do that. And I was able to attract the support. I always say it's about three things: the policy, the politics, and the people. People believed in me because of my knowledge of the issues and my political know -- how. As you see, I'm modest! [Laughs] Thus I was able to get the support to lead us to victory.