Hakeem Jeffries Makes History As First Black Party Leader In Congress

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Rep. Hakeem Jeffries was elected to lead the House Democrats on Wednesday, ushering in a new era of leadership on Capitol Hill and making history as the first Black person to hold this position in Congress.

Jeffries ran unopposed for Democratic Minority leader, with Massachusetts Rep. Katherine Clark running for Democratic whip and California Rep. Peter Aguilar as caucus chairman, CNN reports.

In the upcoming Congress, where Republicans will hold a majority, Jeffries, Clark and Aguilar will be the party’s leaders in a Democratic minority for the first two terms. 

The 52-year-old New Yorker represents a generational shift from the current trio of House Democratic leaders, who are three decades older than him. Jeffries also made history when he became the chairman of the Democratic caucus in 2019.

His election comes after Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn recently announced plans to leave their current leadership roles. 

“We stand on their collective broad shoulders,” Jeffries said, referencing Pelosi and her team, according to The Associated Press. “The best thing that we can do as a result of the seriousness and solemnity of the moment is lean in hard and do the best damn job that we can for the people.”

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