U.S House of Representatives elects Hakeem Jeffries as first black party leader

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New York Congressman Hakeem Jeffries has been unanimously elected to lead the Democratic caucus in the United States House of Representatives, making him the first black American to lead any party in either the House or the Senate.

The vote for Jeffries and two colleagues to House Democratic leadership marks a rise of a new, younger generation that is now set to take the reins from the likes of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who at 82, announced she would not seek a leadership role in the next Congress.

The 52-year-old Congressman is 30 years younger than his predecessor Pelosi, who was elected to lead the House Democratic caucus in 2003, which included 8 terms as Speaker.

“It’s an honor to stand before you today as the incoming House Democratic leader for the 118th Congress that will convene on January 3rd, and to be joined by my two good friends, amazing colleagues and partners, the incoming House Democratic whip, Katherine Clarke, and the incoming caucus chair, Pete Aguilar. I also want to convey my thanks to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, an extraordinary speaker for the ages, who has delivered so much for so many over such a significant period of time. Our caucus is better. Our country is better. The world is better because of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s incredible leadership.”

The elevation of Jeffries, Representative Clark to the Democratic Whip position and Representative Aguilar as Caucus Chairman ensures that the top three roles for Democrats in the House are held by women or by people of colour.

“House Democrats fight for the people. That’s our story. That’s our legacy. That’s our values. That’s our commitment as we move forward. Get stuff done. Make life better for everyday Americans. We look forward to finding opportunities to partner with the other side of the aisle and work with them whenever possible, but we will also push back against extremism whenever necessary.”

Jeffries’ election was lauded by the Democratic leader of the Senate Chuck Schumer