Pelosi unveils Kahn portrait

The portrait of Florence Kahn, the first Jewish-American woman to serve in the U.S. Congress, was unveiled May 19, 2009 in the Rayburn Room of the Capitol in honor of Jewish American Heritage Month. (Office of Nancy Pelosi)

The portrait of Florence Kahn, the first Jewish-American woman to serve in the U.S. Congress, was unveiled May 19, 2009 in the Rayburn Room of the Capitol in honor of Jewish American Heritage Month. (Office of Nancy Pelosi)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Speaker of the House helped unveil a U.S. Capitol portrait of the first Jewish woman to serve in Congress.

Nancy Pelosi joined with Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) at a U.S. Capitol ceremony Tuesday afternoon to unveil a portrait of Florence Kahn to help commemorate Jewish American Heritage Month. In honor of Kahn’s status as the first woman to serve on the House Appropriations Committee, that committee’s current chair, Rep. David Obey (D-Wis.) and Appropriations subcommittee chairwoman Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) also spoke at the event.

Kahn, a Republican, represented California’s Fourth District from 1925-1937, winning a special election after her husband Julius died in office, and was the seventh woman to serve in Congress. In addition to being the first female member of Appropriations, Kahn also was the first woman to serve on the Military Affairs — now Armed Services — committee.

"Florence Kahn was a trailblazer and pioneer," Obey said.

Pelosi noted that she serves the same San Francisco district that Kahn represented and quipped that other than her home and Congress, she’s probably spent more time than anywhere else at the San Francisco playground named after Julius Kahn.

The Capitol has not yet determined where the portait of Kahn, which pictures her standing in front of the Golden Gate Bridge, will be hung.

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