Hakeem Jeffries: The Democrat who is replacing Nancy Pelosi as leader

By December 1, 2022News, World News

US lawmaker Hakeem Jeffries has been unanimously elected to succeed Nancy Pelosi as the Democratic leader in the House of Representatives.
The four-term New York congressman, 52, has served in the fifth-highest rank of Democratic leadership since 2019.
With his ascension to the top spot, held by Mrs Pelosi for two decades, he will be the first black person to lead a major party in the US Congress.
But he would be minority leader, and not the speaker.
In the US midterm elections earlier this month, Republicans failed to secure the "red wave" of victories many had predicted but regained a slim majority in the House, Congress' lower chamber.
California Republican Kevin McCarthy, who currently serves as minority leader, was nominated as the party's choice to be House speaker but he must win a majority vote of the full House – 218 votes – in January to secure the role.
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Watch: Five key moments in Nancy Pelosi's career
When Mrs Pelosi, 82, announced her retirement on 17 November, she said: "The hour has come for a new generation to lead the Democratic caucus."
The move was apparently co-ordinated with Mrs Pelosi's top two deputies – Steny Hoyer, 83, and Jim Clyburn, 82 – who quickly followed suit by releasing statements on their future plans.
Both men endorsed Mr Jeffries, with Mr Clyburn writing that his focus was "doing whatever I can to assist our new generation of Democratic Leaders, which I hope to be Hakeem Jeffries, Katherine Clark, and Pete Aguilar".
In a letter to his party colleagues, Mr Jeffries had asked Democrats for their support "as we once again prepare to meet the moment".
At the time, he lauded Mrs Pelosi as "the most accomplished Speaker in American history", writing that she had been "the steady hand on the gavel during some of the most turbulent times the nation has ever confronted".
In closed-door leadership elections this week, Congresswoman Katherine Clark, 59, of Massachusetts won the post of whip, the number two Democratic leadership job, while Pete Aguilar, 43, of California, currently vice-chairman of the caucus, was chosen to succeed Mr Jeffries in the role of caucus chairman.
The leadership shuffle will do much to quell complaints from some Democratic voters that their party's leaders are too old.
But the trio of young up-and-comers is seen as being more closely aligned with the party's establishment wing, and Mr Jeffries in particular has been known to clash on occasion with his party's left flank.
A lawyer who was born and raised in the Brooklyn borough of New York, he served in the New York State Assembly before running for the House in 2013.
His message was simple: "Washington is broken. Congress is dysfunctional. People are suffering. We deserve more."
During the campaign, he was touted as the "Barack Obama of Brooklyn", a comparison he rejected because he saw little professional resemblance to the then-president.
Since taking federal office, he has positioned himself as an outspoken Democrat, popular with most colleagues and growing in influence.
As whip for the Congressional Black Caucus, he led members in protest on the House floor in 2015 against the killing of African-Americans by police.
He once paid tribute on the House floor to rapper The Notorious B.I.G., who was born as Christopher Wallace in Mr Jeffries' district and gunned down in Los Angeles in 1997.
On the 20th anniversary of his death, the congressman said that the hip hop artist represented "the classic embodiment of the American Dream" and rapped some lyrics from his 1994 hit single Juicy.
During the Trump presidency, Mr Jeffries frequently attacked "radical Republicans" who were "bending the knee to Donald Trump".
In 2020, he served as one of seven Democratic managers at President Donald Trump's first impeachment trial.
He has also warned that Mr McCarthy – his Republican counterpart in the next Congress – is "a wholly owned subsidiary of Donald Trump and the Trump machine".
With Democrats retaining power in the upper chamber of Congress, Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer will remain at his post. That means the Democratic leaders in both chambers of Congress will hail from the state of New York.
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