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Who Is Hakeem Jeffries? Nancy Pelosi’s Successor in the Democrat Congressional Leadership

Hakeem Jeffries

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For 15 years, Nancy Pelosi led the Democrats in the House of Representatives, 8 in the minority and 7 as Speaker. At 82 years of age, and after the defeat in the 2022 midterms, the congresswoman announced her retirement from the Democratic leadership. The party did not delay in choosing her successor: Hakeem Jeffries.

Aged 52, Jeffries has represented New York’s 8th District since 2013 and in early 2023 will become the highest-ranking black congressional leader in history. Despite not even serving a decade in the lower house, he managed to dissuade his opponents and win the seat previously held by Pelosi.  

“The committed individuals to Hakeem Jeffries were so high that those considering challenging — it melted away. It became the obvious choice, and everybody just fell in,” said Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), who predicted Jeffries will become the first African-American Speaker of the House.

As reported by POLITICO, the congressman’s election is the result of a very cautious race, focused on consolidating support in all party blocs, from the moderate Blue Dogs to The Squad.

After 15 years, Hakeem Jeffries will succeed Nancy Pelosi as leader of the Democrats in the House of Representatives (Source: EFE).

Of course, the leadership was also revamped under Jeffries and in came Katherine Clark (D-Mass) and Pete Aguilar (D-Calif), who have a great relationship with the new minority leader. Over the past two years, the trio dined regularly and even added virtual meetings that were not scheduled.

The caucus as a whole is almost like, collective: ‘We agree with the top three,'” said Congressman Henry Cuellar, perhaps the most moderate Democrat in the lower chamber.

Who is Hakeem Jeffries?

The new leader is a lawyer, is married to Kennisandra Arciniegas-Jeffries, with whom he has two children, is a Baptist and has been a member of the Budget, Justice, Banks, Codes and Housing committees since his time in Congress.

Over the years, Jeffries has made a name for himself as a progressive rather than a centrist, although he was able to keep his distance from the space led by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

For example, while he has had moderate positions on issues such as Israel and even oil, he claimed that Donald Trump was an “illegitimate” president and talks about voter suppression every chance he gets: “The Republican party has adopted voter suppression as an electoral strategy. The right to vote was a sacred thing, an important part of our democracy.”  

As for his intentions to dialogue with the GOP, his voting record is not the most promising. He voted with Joe Biden 100% of the time and only 11% of the time with Donald Trump, which is even lower than Nancy Pelosi.

Joaquín Núñez es licenciado en comunicación periodística por la Universidad Católica Argentina. Se especializa en el escenario internacional y en la política nacional norteamericana. Confeso hincha de Racing Club de Avellaneda. Contacto: joaquin.nunez@elamerican.com // Joaquín Núñez has a degree in journalistic communication from the Universidad Católica Argentina. He specializes in the international scene and national American politics. Confessed fan of Racing Club of Avellaneda. Contact: joaquin.nunez@elamerican.com