Brooklyn Democratic Party Chair Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte-Hermelyn has “wholeheartedly” welcomed Brooklyn Congressman Hakeem Jeffries as the potential successor of US House Democratic Leader, Nancy Pelosi.
“Rep. Jeffries, whose Congressional District 8 overlaps with the Assembly District 42 I proudly represent, has been a staunch ally for our community,” Bichotte-Hermelyn, the daughter of Haitian immigrants, told Caribbean Life over the weekend.
“I wholeheartedly welcome the prospect of Rep. Jeffries becoming the House Democratic Leader and am confident he’ll usher in a new diverse era of leadership in Congress to lead America — and Brooklyn – forward,” she added.
Bichotte Hermelyn said Jeffries has “dedicated his entire career to uplifting Brooklynites, and his remarkable rise from humble roots to chair of the House Democratic Caucus is a testament to his skilled leadership, legislative abilities and keen understanding of the needs of his constituents.”
She also said that Pelosi has been “a pioneering, accomplished and graceful leader.
“As the first woman speaker of the House, she has steadfastly led our nation forward with stability through multiple crises and turmoil, and has bettered the lives of all Americans,” the Brooklyn Democratic Party leader said. “I thank Rep. Pelosi for her dedicated service, and look forward to her continued accomplishments as she continues to serve as congresswoman.”
On Friday, Jeffries, 52, whose 8th Congressional District comprises large parts of Brooklyn and a section of Queens, announced his bid for House Democratic leader.
If he wins, he would become the first Black man to hold the top party leadership role in both chambers of Congress. Currently, there are no challengers for his bid.
On Thursday, Jeffries lauded Pelosi as “the most accomplished Speaker in American history, and our country is unquestionably better off for her extraordinary leadership.
“Speaker Pelosi’s policy achievements will be felt for generations,” he said. “Nelson Mandela once said that ‘there can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way it treats its children.’
“Her legacy of fighting for children has left an indelible imprint of meaningful progress in the fabric of our nation,” Jeffries added. “Nancy Pelosi’s historic ascension to become the first woman Speaker of the House will forever inspire our nation on the power of possibility.
“It has been a tremendous honor to twice place her name in nomination for Speaker of the House on behalf of the Democratic Caucus,” he continued. “For decades, the Speaker shaped House Democrats in her image and transformed us into a mighty instrument for positive change.
“The Speaker often reminds us that our diversity is our strength. I know we will draw on that wisdom often as we come together as a Caucus to begin a new chapter, reflecting the hopes, dreams and aspirations of the people we represent. May we undertake that journey with the solemnity, prayerfulness and tenacity that Speaker Pelosi has brought to each and every day of her tenure,” Jeffries said. “The United States of America owes Nancy Pelosi a tremendous debt of gratitude for her faithful service. May God bless her, Paul and the entire Pelosi family.”
Rep. Jeffries was born in Brooklyn Hospital, raised in Crown Heights and is a product New York City’s public school system, having graduated from Midwood High School. He lives in Prospect Heights with his family.
Serving his fifth term in the United States Congress, Rep. Jeffries is a member of the House Judiciary Committee and House Budget Committee.
He is currently chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, having been elected to that position by his colleagues in November 2018.
In that capacity, he is the fifth highest-ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives. He is also the former Whip of the Congressional Black Caucus and previously co-chaired the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee where he helped develop the For The People agenda.
In Congress, Rep. Jeffries is a tireless advocate for social and economic justice. He has worked hard to help residents recover from the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic, reform our criminal justice system, improve the economy for everyday Americans and protect our healthcare from right-wing attacks.
Since President Biden took office in January 2021, Rep. Jeffries has been instrumental in House Democratic efforts to put people over politics by lowering costs, creating better-paying jobs and fighting for safer communities.
Over the past two years Democrats have passed the American Rescue Plan, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the CHIPS and Science Act and the Inflation Reduction Act.
This year, Jeffries said he was able to secure $21.9 million for projects in Brooklyn to provide food for the hungry, “fund overdue improvements to medical centers, support organizations working to uplift our neighborhoods, deepen our cultural understanding and more through the 2022 Community Project Funding process.”
In the spring 2022, he successfully fought against the splitting of Bedford Stuyvesant into multiple Congressional Districts during “the broken and gravely flawed redistricting process unleashed by partisan Republicans and their judicial co-conspirators in New York.”
During the 117th Congress, Jeffries was considered one of the most effective legislators, passing multiple bills through the House of Representatives and into law with substantial bipartisan and stakeholder support.
These measures touched on diverse subject matters and were drafted with the intention of making meaningful improvements to our federal laws and programs.
Such bills included measures to ensure veterans and their families have access to benefits information (H.R. 2093, Public Law No. 117-62), to measure the progress of recovery and efforts to address corruption, rule of law and media freedoms in Haiti (H.R. 2471, Public Law No. 117-103), to protect attorney-client privilege for incarcerated individuals corresponding electronically with their legal representatives (H.R. 546) and to eliminate the federal sentencing disparity between drug offenses involving crack cocaine and powder cocaine once and for all (H.R. 1693).
In January 2020, Jeffries was selected by Pelosi to serve as one of seven House Impeachment Managers in the Senate trial of President Donald Trump, becoming the first African American man to serve in that role.
During the nearly three-week trial, Congressman Jeffries argued that President Trump should be removed from office for abusing his power by pressuring a foreign government, Ukraine, to target an American citizen as part of a corrupt scheme to interfere in the 2020 election.
The House Impeachment Managers established with a mountain of evidence that crimes against the Constitution were committed.
Nevertheless, the Senate failed to remove the President without hearing from a single witness during the trial.
Prior to his election to the Congress, Jeffries served for six years in the New York State Assembly.
In that capacity, he authored laws to protect the civil liberties of law-abiding New Yorkers during police encounters, encourage the transformation of vacant luxury condominiums into affordable homes for working families and improve the quality of justice in the civil court system.
Congressman Jeffries obtained his bachelor’s degree in political science from the State University of New York at Binghamton, where he graduated with honors for outstanding academic achievement.
He then received his master’s degree in public policy from Georgetown University.
Thereafter, Rep. Jeffries attended New York University School of Law, where he graduated magna cum laude and served on Law Review.
After completing law school, Jeffries clerked for the Hon. Harold Baer, Jr. of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.
He then practiced law for several years at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, an internationally renowned law firm. and served as counsel in the litigation department of Viacom Inc. and CBS.
He also worked as of-counsel at Godosky & Gentile, a well-regarded litigation firm in New York City.
“He is really deliberative; he’s not the type to quickly react to a question or a concern,” said Rep. Grace Meng, a Queens Democrat, who has served with Jeffries in Albany and Washington.
“He will listen, absorb it and usually come back with a solution that most people would not have thought of,” she added.
Longtime political adviser Lupe Todd-Medina said Jeffries “was definitely of the generation of mostly men who were outsiders of the Democratic Party and worked to kick in the door.
“Once they got in, that was when you saw the shift of Black political power go from Harlem to Central Brooklyn,” she added.