Pelosi

Whitney Downard / CNHI Statehouse reporter

Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House, calls for party unity at the Young Democrats of America national convention in Indianapolis Friday. 

INDIANAPOLIS -- Nancy Pelosi, the first female speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, called for unity within the Democratic Party in Indianapolis following a tumultuous week.

"There are criticisms people might have of the Democratic Party, but there is no institution that has come up with better ideas for our country," Pelosi told attendees of the national Young Democrats of America conference. "We should take pride in that and we should take pride in the fact that we're so different from each other."

Pelosi, 79, hearkened back to the country's founders in urging Democrats to come together. Her speech came after reports of division between Pelosi and a group of younger House Democrats known as "the squad:" Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota.

"We have a big difference between Democrats and Republicans in our country, but as we fight those fights we have a different message from our founders," Pelosi said. "They cautioned us to always remember that we are one. So we will go out and fight our fight… but we will do it in a way that respects our founders."

Pelosi, representing the 12th District of California, praised attendees as an "intellectual resource," providing a fresh perspective to the party. This week, Democrats passed a bill to raise the minimum wage to $15 and a resolution condemning President Donald Trump's "racist" tweets last weekend.

With elections fast approaching, Pelosi urged attendees to re-elect a Democratic House majority, take back the Senate and win the highest elected office in the country.

"Are you ready to elect a Democratic president?" Pelosi asked the crowd, with attendees cheering "Nancy" as she left the stage.

Rep. Andre Carson, of Indiana's 7th District, introduced Pelosi and shared Pelosi's call for unity.

"Today, in this community and at this gathering, you are America's future," Carson said. "You are helping to craft the strategy of the next generation and it can't come soon enough because President (Donald) Trump and his allies have a strategy too. It's a strategy to divide and conquer.

"The president knows that the only way that he can stay in power is by sowing seeds of discontent and turmoil."

Pelosi's remarks follow three days of events at the YDA convention, including speeches from presidential candidates Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend; Rep. Seth Moulton, of Massachusetts' 6th District; and Wayne Messam, the mayor of Miramar, Florida.

Pete Seat, the Indiana Republican Party spokesperson, said he hoped Pelosi would use her visit to the Hoosier State as a learning opportunity prior to Pelosi's speech Friday.

"As Nancy Pelosi's plane touches down in Indiana for a stop in what her liberal coastal friends would call flyover country, we recommend that she takes a few minutes to get out and talk with real Hoosiers," Seat said in a release. "Because if she got out to talk with real Hoosiers, Pelosi would learn that Republican policies lead to balanced budgets, vibrant communities, more people in good-paying jobs and lower taxes. She'd find a solidly red state that is growing and bringing transformational change to every town, city and region thanks to Republican candidates and elected officials at every level of public service.

"The Indiana way provides a night-and-day difference to the dysfunction Pelosi stirs up in Washington," he added, "and it results in better government service for all. You might call our work a blueprint for success. Hopefully Speaker Pelosi takes some notes."

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