Mark U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries‘ (D-Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Bed-Stuy, Brownsville, East New York, Canarsie, Mill Basin, Coney Island, and South Ozone Park, Howard Beach in Queens) as Brooklyn’s latest and strongest political heavyweight with his star strongly on the rise.
That after the lawmaker edged out fellow Congressional Black Caucus member Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) to become the next chair of the House Democratic Caucus, the No.5 leadership position in the now majority party. It is the same position that U.S. Rep Joe Crowley (D-Queens) held before freshman U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D) upended him in the recent primary.
“Today marks the end of a hard-fought campaign of ideas with my friend Barbara Lee,” said Jeffries, 48. “For decades, Barbara has been a tireless advocate for social and economic justice. I honor her. In the next two years, House Democrats will fight aggressively to lower healthcare costs, protect people with pre-existing conditions, increase worker pay and clean up corruption in Washington. We will focus on kitchen table, pocketbook issues that unite all Americans. I look forward to working with all of my colleagues in the Democratic Caucus to fight for the people.”
First elected to Congress in 2012, Jeffries has passed seven bills through the House and saw Presidents Obama and Trump sign three of his bills into law.
Among these measures is that Jeffries was the lead Democratic sponsor of the bipartisan FIRST STEP Act, the most meaningful prison reform bill in a generation. The bill passed the House 360-59 and is now being negotiated in the Senate.
Other notable pieces of legislation that Jeffries championed included a fundamental rewrite of music copyright laws and legislation to address rampant synthetic drug use by teenagers.
Jeffries previously served as a co-Chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee (DPCC) and Whip of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Jeffries was born and raised in Crown Heights and graduated from Midwood High School, holds a master’s degree in public policy from Georgetown University and a law degree from New York University. He was first elected to the state assembly in 2006 and has been in Congress since 2012.
Once touted for mayor, Jeffries is now the leading face of youth among House Democrats and with current Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), 78, expected to become the next Speaker or should she falter, Jeffries could well become the next Speaker.
Jeffries rise comes as Public Advocate Letitia James (D), also of Brooklyn, is now the State Attorney General-elect, which puts her in a strong position to run for governor in four years. Meanwhile, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams (D) is expected to mount a strong challenge for mayor in two years.
U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D), also of Brooklyn and a James Madison High School graduate is currently the U.S. Senate’s Minority Leader.