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Historic: House Democrats Elect NY Rep. As Leader, First Black Person To Head Party In Congress

House Democrats elected New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries as their leader on Wednesday, Nov. 30.
House Democrats elected New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries as their leader on Wednesday, Nov. 30. Photo Credit: Facebook/Congressman Hakeem Jeffries

History has been made after House Democrats elected New York Congressman Hakeem Jeffries as their leader, marking the first time a Black person will lead a party in either chamber of Congress.

The move came in a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill Wednesday morning, Nov. 30, CNN reports.

Jeffries, the caucus chair who represents New York’s 8th Congressional District covering eastern Brooklyn and southwestern Queens, was unopposed in running for leader, the outlet reports.

The 52-year-old later posted on Twitter saying he was “humbled to be elected incoming House Democratic Leader.”

“Ready to get to work,” he said.

Jeffries said he hopes to “lead an effort that centers our communication strategy around the messaging principle that values unite, issues divide,” CNN quoted him as saying.

He went on to praise the previous leadership, but said “more must be done to combat inflation, defend our democracy, secure reproductive freedom, welcome new Americans, promote equal protection under the law and improve public safety throughout this country.”

Jeffries was first elected to Congress in 2012 after previously serving in the New York State Assembly since 2007, representing the 57th Assembly District. He has chaired the House Democratic Caucus since 2019.

He will succeed California Rep. Nancy Pelosi, who announced Thursday, Nov. 17, that she would not seek a party leadership role in the next Congress.

Pelosi, who was elected to the House in 1987, was the first woman to ever lead a party in Congress and was the first female Speaker of the House.

Current House Republican Leader, California Rep. Kevin McCarthy, is likely to become Speaker in the next Congress after his party garnered enough seats in the 2022 midterm elections to win back control of the House. 

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