Pelosi on Whether Older Congresspeople Should Retire: If You Have a Problem With Someone Who Is Older, 'Run for Office'

May 24, 2018

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) answered a question during a CNN town hall about whether older members of Congress should retire by defending her tenure and claiming that women often enter politics at an older age.

"We want to take the talent, the experience, the values where they are and we want to have the mix in all of it. But if you have a problem with somebody who is older, run for office. I say that," Pelosi said. "Run for office."

A woman asked Pelosi if some members should return to the private sector and encourage younger people to run for office given that more than half of senators running for re-election in 2018 are over 65 years old.

"Should I take that personally?" Pelosi cracked.

"You're not in the Senate," host Chris Cuomo reassured.

Pelosi claimed that a solution to the questioner's concerns was getting money out of politics.

"If you reduce the role of money in politics and increase the level of civility in politics, you will have more women, more young people, more people of color," Pelosi said. "Nothing is more wholesome than that."

She also explained that Congress's seniority system keeps older members in office.

"So people in different regions want to make sure that the people who represent them are in a senior position to help express their views. The concerns of their region," she said.

The Democratic leader answered the question by citing personal experience, explaining she raised five children before running for Congress.

"So lots of times women are a bit older because they've been raising children," she said.

She said she's happy that it no longer has to be that way.

"But for me, I don't think age has that much to do with it," she said before mentioning that women bring something different to the table than men do.

"Whatever you're bringing, it is new and fresh and different because you're a woman," she said.

Pelosi made note of the changing electoral environment with young people registering and the Women's March.