Who is Hakeem Jeffries, the first Black lawmaker to lead a party in Congress?

House Democrats on Wednesday elected Rep. Hakeem Jeffries as their leader, replacing Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi who is stepping down from leadership.

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Jeffries will be the first Black lawmaker to lead a party in Congress.

“It’s a solemn responsibility that we are all inheriting,” Jeffries told reporters on the eve of the party meeting. “And the best thing that we can do as a result of the seriousness and solemnity of the moment is lean in hard and do the best damn job that we can for the people.”

Jeffries, 52, will be the minority leader of the House after the Democrats lost the majority of the chamber in the midterm elections,

Here’s what we know about Jeffries:

  • He represents the 8th Congressional District of New York.
  • He was born in New York City.
  • Jeffries earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from the State University of New York at Binghamton, then received his master’s degree in public policy from Georgetown University.
  • He earned his law degree from New York University School of Law, where he graduated magna cum laude and served on the NYU Law Review.
  • Jeffries clerked for Judge Harold Baer Jr. of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York after law school, and practiced law for several years at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, and at the law firm of Godosky & Gentile.
  • He is serving his fifth term in Congress.
  • He is a member of the House Judiciary Committee and the House Budget Committee.
  • Jeffries is the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus and was the whip of the Congressional Black Caucus.
  • Jeffries was selected by Pelosi, D-Calif., to serve as one of seven House impeachment managers in the Senate trial of former President Donald Trump.
  • Prior to serving in Congress, Jeffries served for six years in the New York State Assembly.
  • He has authored several bills including the Slain Officer Family Support Act of 2015, the Keep America’s Refuges Operational Act and the First Step Act, a bipartisan criminal justice reform bill.
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