The House Democrats' second-in-charge is the first woman to get the role.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California took office Tuesday as the House Democratic whip.  She is replacing Rep. David Bonior, D-Mich, who resigned the seat in order to focus more attention on his run for governor of Michigan.

Pelosi, an eight-term representative who beat out Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., in a tenacious contest, is the first woman to hold the position. Her role as second in command to House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt, D-Mo., is to "whip" votes for Democratic legislation.

Pelosi, who said she's confident California will rebound from its current economic slump and serve as a model for the rest of the nation, added that she wants to take California's entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to children into her new job.

Since Congress is not currently in session, Pelosi will be officially sworn in Feb. 6.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.