Photo Courtesy of Rep. Jeffries
Congressman Hakeem Jeffries
By Michael V. Cusenza
Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (D-Queens and Brooklyn) has been elected House Democratic Leader for the 118th Congress—and his fellow pols back home are elated.
“A barrier has been broken and today we start a new chapter in our nation’s history with the election of Congressmember Hakeem Jeffries as House minority leader — the first Black lawmaker to lead a political party in Congress,” Mayor Eric Adams said of Jeffries, who represents Howard Beach in Washington. “New York City will have a champion in our nation’s capital while we continue to fight for our fair share of federal funding and a multitude of other priorities that will support New Yorkers. I look forward to continuing to partner with my good friend and Brooklyn’s native son.”
Congresswoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing) said, “I have known Hakeem since I entered the New York State Legislature in 2009. Early on, I came to view him as a friend and big brother. From the Assembly to Congress, I have always valued his advice – whether on moving legislation, or how to best support constituents.
“I am confident in the direction of House Democrats with Hakeem at the helm. I know he will keep us unified as one team as we retake the House Majority in 2024, and I am excited to partner with him in his new role. Congratulations to my friend and fellow New Yorker!”
As for Jeffries, here’s what the Brooklyn native had to say: “Today, with immense pride, I stood in front of the House Democratic Caucus as a candidate for Democratic Leader, and I am eternally grateful for the trust my colleagues placed in me with their votes. It is a solemn responsibility that myself, Katherine Clark and Pete Aguilar are inheriting, and we will lean in hard and do the work with the seriousness and solemnity the moment requires. We stand on the shoulders of historic individuals, including our iconic Speaker Nancy Pelosi, our resolute Leader Steny Hoyer and our historic Majority Whip James E. Clyburn.
I am particularly humbled to be accepting this honor alongside my friends and partners in leadership, incoming Democratic Whip Katherine Clark and incoming Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar. Katherine represents another important crack in the glass ceiling, a trailblazer in the tradition of Speaker Pelosi. She makes all of us feel seen and heard and will work tirelessly to support our Democratic Caucus. I have watched how Pete brings people together to get things done, rolling up his sleeves as only a former Mayor can do. Katherine, Pete and I will work closely together fighting hard for everyday Americans.”