Who Is Hakeem Jeffries? Brooklyn Dem May Be Next House Minority Leader – NBC New York

The day after Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced she would step aside, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York announced his own history-making bid Friday to become the first Black American to helm a major US political party in Congress as leader of the House Democrats.

The 52-year-old Jeffries gave nod to the “legendary figures” before him, Pelosi and her leadership team, while encouraging his colleagues to embrace this “once-in-a-generation opportunity to further unleash our full potential as a team. ”

Jeffries vowed to create an inclusive leadership that draws on all members of the diverse Democratic caucus as the party works back toward majority status in the House after Republicans seized control in the midterm elections.

“The House Democratic Caucus is the most authentic representation of the gorgeous mosaic of the American people,” Jeffries said in a letter to colleagues.

“I write to humbly ask for your support for the position of House Democratic Leader as we once again prepare to meet the moment.”

The new generation wasted no time preparing to take their place after Pelosi’s expected, but still sudden, announcement Thursday she would relinquish her position after 20 years leading the House Democrats.

It’s not just Jeffries, but Rep. Katherine Clark of Massachusetts and Rep. Pete Aguilar of California — who have worked together as a lower-rung leadership team — all quickly wrote to colleagues with their bids for the first, second- and third-ranking positions in House Democratic leadership.

The trio has been working in tandem for years, preparing for just this moment, seeking to engineer a smooth transition when Pelosi and the other top two Democrats Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Democratic Whip James Clyburn of South Carolina step aside.

House Democrats will meet behind closed doors as a caucus in two weeks, after the Thanksgiving holiday, to select their members. So far, Jeffries, Clark and Aguilar have no stated challengers.

Pelosi told reporters she would not be making any endorsements, believing it’s better not to “anoint” new leaders but allow them the confidence of rising on their own. But on Friday, she heartily backed the potential new leaders.

“With pride, gratitude and confidence in their abilities that I salute Chairman Hakeem Jeffries, Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark and Vice Chairman Pete Aguilar for being ready and willing to assume this awesome responsibility,” Pelosi said in her own statement Friday.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, DN.Y., ended his comments during the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump by reciting a lyric from The Notorious BIG song “Juicy.”

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, a Democrat from Brooklyn, is widely viewed as the heir apparent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who said Thursday she will not seek a leadership role in the next Congress.

Jeffries, a lawyer by trade, could join Sen. Chuck Schumer as Brooklyn Democrats leading their parties in Congress.

Who Is Hakeem Jeffries?

Jeffries, chair of the House Democratic Caucus, represents New York’s 8th District, a deep-blue seat representing southern and eastern parts of the borough of Brooklyn.

He was first elected to Congress in 2012 after serving six years in the New York State Assembly.

Aged 52 and a father of two, Jeffries did his undergraduate studies at SUNY-Binghamton, got a master’s from Georgetown and later a law degree from NYU.

He clerked for a federal judge and spent years in private legal practice, including time as a litigator for Viacom and CBS.

Jeffries has been a rising star in the party for years; Washington Post story in 2012 asked if he was “Brooklyn’s Barack Obama.”

Raised in Crown Heights, Hakeem Jeffries now lives in Prospect Heights with his family.

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