Black News and Black Views with a Whole Lotta Attitude
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Black News and Black Views with a Whole Lotta Attitude

Hakeem Jeffries To Become First Black House Democratic Leader

The historic vote today means a changing of the guard on the left in Congress.

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Representative Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) speaks to media during a post-caucus meeting press conference, at the U.S. Capitol, in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, November 15, 2022.
Representative Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) speaks to media during a post-caucus meeting press conference, at the U.S. Capitol, in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, November 15, 2022.
Photo: Graeme Sloan/Sipa USA (AP)

The new face of power among House Democrats is that of a Black man from Brooklyn.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, who is serving his fifth term representing New York’s eighth Congressional district, was voted in as the next House Minority Leader. The vote means he’ll take over the top and most powerful spot among congressional Democrats from current Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who’s been in power for nearly a generation. Jeffries is the first Black person to be leader for either political party in either chamber of Congress in the country’s history, and he takes over with the most diverse supporting cast in history.

In addition to Jeffries, House Democrats chose Rep. Katherine Clark of Massachusetts, as the minority whip, the person in charge of wrangling supporting for legislation, and Rep. Pete Aguilar of California, as chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, which focuses on the party’s message. With Jeffries, who is Black, Clark, a woman and Aguilar, who is Mexican-American, House Democrats’ leadership slate is now without white men. In addition to their ethnic diversity, the new House leadership is also distinctly younger. Pelosi is 82; Jeffries is 52, Clark is 59 and Aguilar is 43.

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Jeffries will take the reins of Democrats in Congress with his party in a slim minority but generally regarded as in a position of relative strength after midterm elections in which Democrats defied pundits’ predictions that Republicans would take over by a landslide. That massive “red wave” was a small ripple at best, but it still means that Jeffries and his team will have to contend with a Republican majority that so far appears more interested in investigating President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, than it is in legislation.