Rep. Hakeem Jeffries has just made history, becoming the first Black lawmaker to lead a party in Congress.
The New York congressman will lead Democrats in the House, succeeding Nancy Pelosi, who served as speaker in the prior session of Congress. In addition to being the first Black lawmaker to attain such a position, he is also the first leader of the House Democrats to be born after the end of World War II.
Jeffries, at 52, marks the end of an era – and the start of a new one – for Democrats as he takes up his new position.
House Democrats selected Jeffries to helm their party during a closed-door election in November. He ran unopposed. Now, Jeffries will be at the forefront of the House Democratic minority for the next two years with Republicans holding a slim majority in the chamber.
“I just look forward to the opportunity to do the most good for the greatest number of people possible for as long as I have the opportunity to do so and can operate at the highest level,” he previously told CNN.
His rise in leadership came after Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn announced they would be stepping down from their current leadership positions.
Pelosi was designated “Speaker Emerita” in a unanimous vote by the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee on Nov. 29.
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