The Honorable Deborah D. Pryce
A lawyer and judge before her election to Congress, Deborah D. Pryce skillfully climbed the Republican leadership ladder during her eight terms in the U.S. House. The Ohio Representative served as Republican class president and then deputy whip before eventually holding three elected positions in the Republican Conference where she made history as the first woman to chair the conference.
U.S. Representative from Ohio (January 3, 1993-January 3, 2009)
Growing up in northeast Ohio, Deborah D. Pryce worked in her family’s pharmacy. In her interview she describes how her mother—a pharmacist—and grandmother served as early role models in her life. Pryce opted not to follow in her parents’ professional footsteps but instead chose to study law. As a lawyer and later as a judge she found herself drawn to elective office. Pryce explains how the resistance she faced when being considered as a candidate for probate court judge in Ohio, fueled her desire to ultimately seek and win the seat. She also discusses the challenges she faced on the campaign trail after she received her party’s endorsement to run for an open House seat. Elected in 1992 during the “Year of the Woman” as one of three Republican freshman women in the 103rd Congress (1993–1995) Pryce talks about the factors that led to the spike in women seeking office.
From the beginning of her House tenure, Pryce gravitated toward the leadership in the Republican Party. With her election as Republican freshman-class president followed by a position on the influential Committee on Committees (now the Steering Committee), the panel responsible for making Republican committee assignments, Pryce shares her thoughts on how these early leadership roles, as well as her time as deputy whip, provided a unique opportunity to build relationships with her Republican colleagues. Her ability to work closely with a diverse group of people helped her advance in the Republican Conference. After serving as secretary and vice chair, Pryce was elected chair of the Republican Conference for the 108th and 109th Congresses (2003–2007). She talks about how she made history as the first woman to lead the Republican Conference and discusses her leadership style. In her interview Pryce also details her work to recruit Republican women to run for Congress, the rigors of balancing a House career while raising children, and the importance of her time on the Rules and Financial Services committees.
Read full biography
Coming of Age
"And That Got My Blood Boiling"
Learning the Ropes
Impact of Being a Mother in Congress
"Just the Two of Us"
Social Life on Capitol Hill
Women Members and their Wardrobe
Women in Congress
Women Working Together
"Don't Wait for the Call to Come"
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