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Historic Day for Italian Americans and the United States

Press Contact: Kylie Cafiero, (202) 547-2900 kcafiero@osia.org

WASHINGTON, D.C. - November 8, 2006 - The Order Sons of Italy in America® (OSIA), the nation's oldest and largest organization for men and women of Italian heritage, congratulates Hon. Nancy Pelosi on becoming first woman and the first Italian American ever elected to the highest post in the U.S. House of Representatives. A Democratic Party vote to confirm Pelosi's Speakership, to take place shortly, is virtually certain.

In a letter sent today to Leader Pelosi, OSIA National President Vincent Sarno said, "Please accept our sincerest congratulations on becoming Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. With the nation's estimated 26 million Italian Americans, we applaud your historic ascension to this position."

With her election to Speaker of the House, Pelosi takes her place in history along with other Italian American women trailblazers who have carved careers in government service: Ella Grasso, the first woman ever elected governor in her own right; Mary Landrieu, the first woman of Italian descent ever elected to the U.S. Senate and Geraldine Ferraro, the first woman ever to run for vice president of the United States.

OSIA is the largest and oldest national organization in the U.S. for men and women of Italian heritage in the United States. It has more than 600,000 members and supporters and a network of more than 700 chapters coast to coast. OSIA works at the community, national and international levels to promote the heritage and culture of an estimated 26 million Italian Americans, the nation's fifth largest ethnic group, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.