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The nation’s capital woke up to a different landscape Wednesday as lobbyists and lawmakers began to get used to the idea of calling a Democratic lawmaker Madam Speaker.
Now that Rep. Nancy Pelosi has become the belle of the ball, entertainment industry executives are hoping that she will remember that she’s not just from the tech-heavy San Francisco Bay but also a Californian, where much of the high-profile entertainment industry is based.
“I’ve known her for years, and she’s a good, personal friend of a lot of people in the entertainment industry,” MPAA chairman and CEO Dan Glickman said.
Glickman, a former Democratic congressman who served with Pelosi on the Intelligence Committee, was not the only entertainment industry lobbyist who was hoping that Pelosi viewed the entertainment industry with good feelings.
“She has a certain sensitivity to these interests that (outgoing Speaker) Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) didn’t necessarily share,” RIAA chairman and CEO Mitch Bainwol said.
Pelosi has some ties with the entertainment industry; counted among her friends in Hollywood are News Corp. president and chief operating officer Peter Chernin. While News Corp. is viewed as a Republican stronghold, Chernin is a long-term Democrat who helped Pelosi raise campaign funds.
Her daughter, Alexandra Pelosi, is a documentary filmmaker who made “Journeys With George,” about President Bush’s campaign in 2000, and “Diary of a Political Tourist,” about the Democratic campaign in 2004. She has a new documentary, “Friends of God,” about the evangelical movement in the U.S., set to debut on HBO in January.
Still, there is some nervousness that she will side with the high-tech industry in the behind-the-scenes policy battles the industries will wage in Congress.
“Only time will tell,” one entertainment industry executive said. “She comes from Northern California, where the tech influence is strong.”
Of course, most of Pelosi’s time will be taken up with the front-line issues of the Iraq War, terrorism and the national economy.
Pelosi was elected to Congress in 1987 from her adopted San Francisco home. She made history four years ago when she became the first woman to lead a party caucus in either house of Congress, piercing what she calls a “marble ceiling” in the Capitol that is even harder to break than the proverbial glass ceiling encountered by many women.
She’s one of the most liberal lawmakers who represents one of the nation’s most liberal congressional districts. She presides over a Democratic caucus in which members voted with their party 88% of the time in 2005, one of the most cohesive records in decades, according to an analysis by Congressional Quarterly.
Pelosi also is a prodigious fundraiser, earning $59 million for House candidates this election cycle and more than $100 million since she was elected Democratic leader.
No one has worked harder “to bring us out of the desert,” Rep. Anna Eshoo, a fellow Democrat from California and longtime friend, told the Associated Press. “This woman is a human tornado.”
Pelosi, the daughter and sister of Baltimore mayors, grew up immersed in politics and moved west in her 20s when her investment-banker husband wanted to return to his roots. She managed to work herself into California’s Democratic political structure while raising five children who were born over six years. She didn’t run for Congress until she was 46, when her youngest daughter reached high school.
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