Who is Hakeem Jeffries? Meet the front-runner to replace Nancy Pelosi


Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (DN.Y.) is ready to win a history-making woman and make his own history.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the first woman to hold that post, announced Thursday that she will step down as the top Democrat, making way for Jeffries, 52, the leader of the House Democratic Caucus. opened to look for work. . If elected by House Democrats, Jeffries would become the first Black lawmaker to lead a party in Congress.

In a statement, Jeffries praised Pelosi but did not mention his plans to seek the presidency, although his move has been widely reported. Pelosi “is the most accomplished speaker in American history and our country is undoubtedly better for her extraordinary leadership.” He went on to call her “a steady hand on the grass during some of the most turbulent times the nation has ever faced.”

Jeffries added: “Our President reminds us time and time again that our diversity is our strength. I know we will act on that wisdom as we move forward as a Group.” come together to start a new phase.”

One of Pelosi’s longtime allies, House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.), has announced that he will also step down from his leadership post. Jeffries is expected to be joined by Reps. Katherine M. Clark (D-Mass.) and Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.), who will seek positions 2 and 3, respectively.

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Rep. James E. Clyburn (D.S.C.) will step down as House majority whip and become assistant speaker, a position that will now be fourth in the leadership structure.

Jeffries, a lawyer, is from downtown Brooklyn, New York’s Democratic powerhouse. He’s a self-proclaimed progressive who builds relationships with Democratic establishment figures in Washington while courting the ascendant left.

He took office in 2013 and has been the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus since 2019, a leadership position. In that role, he was the youngest member of the leadership team.

With Thursday’s moves, House Democrats faced a significant generational shift — from octogenarians like Pelosi, Hoyer and Clyburn, to Jeffries; Clark, 59; and Aguilar, 43. Presidential elections are the week of Nov. 28, and the party appeared united behind the new map.

In an interview with the Atlantic last year, Jeffries explained where he stands in today’s political world, saying, “I am a progressive Black Democrat who is committed to addressing the urgent need to address racial and social and economic injustice.” Then he added to his speech: “I will never bow down to left-wing democratic socialism.”

Jeffries, a graduate of the State University of New York at Binghamton, Georgetown and New York University School of Law, was first elected to the New York State Assembly in 2006, after unsuccessfully challenging a Democratic incumbent who was supported by the Brooklyn Democratic machine. supported by Roger Green, was elected. After Jeffries lost an earlier race to Green, Democratic lawmakers immediately redistricted to remove Jeffries’ then-household.

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The apparent move to suffocate a young and struggling political talent was the subject of a 2010 documentary on trolls. In that film, Jeffries was the reformist politician who was against the establishment.

Jeffries was elected to Congress in 2012 after longtime Rep. Ed Towns abruptly announced he would not seek re-election. Jeffries was widely expected to win after Towns’ departure but suddenly faced a primary challenge from Charles Barron, a Black Panther and longtime office holder in New York. Fears that Brooklyn could send Barron to Congress prompted a national effort by establishment Democrats to support Jeffries, which proved successful.

Once in Congress, Jeffries represented not only a mix of liberal and establishment politics, but also the swagger of young Brooklyn.

He once paid tribute to slain rapper from his hometown, Christopher Wallace, aka Notorious BIG Jeffries, calling Wallace “a classic embodiment of the American Dream.”

He called out some of the rapper’s stage names in 2017, adding: “Biggie Smalls, Frank White, the king of New York. He died 20 years ago today in a tragedy in Los Angeles. But his words always resonate.” and live forever.”

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Jeffries then delivered the lyrics to one of the rapper’s most famous songs, “Juicy”: “It was all a dream/ I was reading Word Up magazine/ Salt-N-Pepa and Heavy D up in a limousine/ Pictures hangin’ on my wall/ Every Saturday Rap Attack, Mr. Magic, Marley Marl.

In 2015, Jeffries considered running for mayor of New York City because then-Democratic mayor Bill de Blasio failed to deliver on his campaign promise of sweeping changes to the city’s much-criticized policing tactics. perform

In 2020, Jeffries served as impeachment director in President Donald Trump’s first impeachment trial, a sign of Pelosi’s confidence in him.

Jeffries also helped clarify the Democrats’ message as he frequently hit the campaign trail and was available for interviews with reporters.

In 2020, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) called on Joe Biden to suspend his presidential campaign during Trump’s Senate trial. When a reporter asked Jeffries about McCarthy’s comment, Jeffries, the New York Times wrote, simply replied, “Who?”

If Jeffries is elected as the Democratic leader, he will find himself tied with McCarthy, who is seeking the presidency in the Republican-controlled House next year.


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