U.S. House Democrats elect Hakeem Jeffries as first black party leader

WASHINGTON, Nov 30 (Reuters) – Hakeem Jeffries was unanimously elected as the top leader of the Democratic Party in the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday, making him the sixth leader of the U.S. House of Representatives since January. A black American in such a high office in Congress.

The vote by Jeffries’ fellow Democrats also marks the rise of a younger generation of leaders in the 435-member House, and the end of the Nancy Pelosi era and control of other Democrats in their 80s.

Jeffries, a 52-year-old New Yorker, will serve as the Democratic leader in the House of Representatives for the 118th Congress, which convenes on January 11. 3.

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he was not surprised fellow Brooklyn Jeffries was picked.

Being from Brooklyn means “you learn how to work with all kinds of different people. You learn how to stand your ground. You learn not to take things seriously,” Schumer said Wednesday, adding that Jeffries “It embodies all those qualities.”

The two leaders live in adjacent blocks, just a few blocks apart.

In November, Jeffries officially announced his candidacy. 18, after a decade in the House, pledged to preside over a caucus, return power to committee members, give junior lawmakers more say in crafting legislation and be rewarded with high-profile jobs.

Asked how he would work with Republicans, Jeffries said: “Our commitment has always been to reach out wherever and whenever we can to do good for ordinary Americans.”

Also elected to Team Jeffries was Rep. Catherine Clark, 59, of Massachusetts, who won first place. 2 Democracy work, a position called “whip”. Pete Aguilar, a 43-year-old Californian who is a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, was elected to Jeffries’ current position as chairman of the Democratic caucus.

Their election meant that, for the first time in any political party, the top three party roles were filled by women or people of color.

In a statement congratulating the trio, Pelosi said: “Together, a new generation of leaders reflects the energy and diversity of our great nation — and they will reinvigorate our caucus with new energy, ideas, and perspectives.”

The change in Democratic leadership comes as the result of November’s election leaves Republicans with a narrow majority control of the House of Representatives. 8 midterm elections.

Republicans and their leader, Kevin McCarthy, who want to be the next Speaker, have notified Democrats that they will act immediately to launch investigations into administration officials and President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

Although they have made tackling inflation a centerpiece of their 2022 congressional campaign, Republicans have said little about the topic since then.

Octogenarians take a backseat

Pelosi, 82, Majority Leader Stenny Hoyer, 83, and Majority Whip James Claiborne, 82, have held the three House Democratic leadership positions for 20 years.

For years, they have been under pressure to make way for younger generations. The moment came after Republicans won a majority, but without the “red wave” they had expected – a turn of events that has bolstered Democrats.

They agreed that stepping down meant a smooth transition of power. Outside of Wednesday’s closed-door meeting, reporters could hear loud celebrations in the room.

“Hakeem Jeffries spent a quarter of his time praising the goat (the greatest man ever) Nancy Pelosi,” Representative Emmanuel Cleaver told reporters afterward, referring to Jeffries’ speech at A speech to his colleagues before the vote.

Cleaver, an ordained pastor, said caucus members “stand up, like they’re in church” to celebrate Jeffries’ election, “and I call him a giant of hip-hop.” fans and hosts the annual Hip Hop on the Hill fundraiser.

Reporting by Moira Warburton and Richard Cowan; Editing by Scott Malone, Alistair Bell and Lisa Shumaker

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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