The Democrats have chosen New York Representative Hakeem Jeffries to replace Speaker Nancy Pelosi. This could be a historic action, considering he’ll be the first Black person ever put in charge of part of Congress.
In a surprise move, Speaker Pelosi announced her retirement this week. She didn’t reveal who she would support as her successor.
Jeffries’ influence is apparent in the fact that both House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and House Majority Jim Clyburn endorsed him after announcing their retirement.
“Speaker Pelosi has left an indelible mark on Congress and the country, and I look forward to her continued service and doing whatever I can to assist our new generation Democratic leaders, which I hope to be Hakeem Jeffries, Katherine Clark, and Peter Aguilar,” Clyburn said.
Furthermore, Hoyer stated that Jeffries “will make history for the institution of the House and for the country.”
The 52-year-old New York Rep. would mark a significant change from the now threesome of House Democratic leaders. They will succeed those who are three decades older than them.
In 2019, Jeffries sat as the Democratic caucus chairman. He stood as the youngest member to serve in leadership.
When asked when he’d officially break the news of his run for leader, Jeffries stated: “Let’s spend the day at this moment continuing to process the historic nature of Speaker Pelosi and the opportunity that we’ve all had to serve with her.”
“It’s been an amazing experience,” he continued. “This is a moment right now to continue to celebrate Speaker Pelosi.”
Moreover, the House of Democratic caucus appears to support Jeffries.
Jeffries Gain Democratic Support
Before Pelosi’s announcement, Ohio Representative Joyce Beatty told CNN that she anticipated the caucus’s support for Jeffries. Beatty is the Congressional Black Caucus chairwoman.
“If she steps aside, I’m very clear that Hakeem Jeffries is the person that I will be voting for and leading the Congressional Black Caucus to vote for,” Beatty stated.
“I don’t always speak for everybody, but I’m very comfortable saying I believe that every member of the Congressional Black Caucus would vote for Hakeem Jeffries.”
G.K. Butterfield, retiring North Carolina Representative and former CBC chairman, shared with CNN that Jeffries “is prepared for the moment.” This is if Pelosi relinquished her post. Butterfield told CNN he expected Jeffries to run.
Over the past few months, Democrats have anticipated Pelosi’s possible step down from Congress would open the door for Jeffries.
Jeffries graduated from the State University of New York at Binghamton, Georgetown. He then proceeded to his law degree at New York University Law School. And in 2006, he was elected to the New York State Assembly.
Since then, he has served New York’s 8th District. During Trump’s time, Jeffries led the passing of the bipartisan criminal justice overhaul bill or the First Step Act.
A few House Democrats have stood for the moment of Pelosi’s step down. She gained the speaker’s gavel following the 2006 elections, then lost it following the 2010 elections. But after the 2018 elections, she won it again.
“She’s a historic speaker who’s accomplished an incredible amount, but I also think there are a lot of Democrats ready for a new chapter,” Massachusetts Representative Seth Moulton said.