Hakeem Jeffries Elected Democratic Caucus Chair
Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) beat out fellow Congressional Black Caucus member Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) to Chair the Democratic Caucus -- the number five spot in Democratic leadership. Jeffries secured 123 votes to Lee’s 113. The position could be a launching pad for the 48-year-old to become the first African American Speaker of the House. The Brooklyn native graduated from New York University School of Law and obtained a Master's from Georgetown University. Jeffries previously worked at the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison before becoming Assistant Litigator for Viacom and CBS, where he worked on litigation stemming from the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show controversy. He then spent six years in the state legislature where he introduced over 70 bills. With such a high profile, he ruled out challenging NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio in 2017 and opted to stay on Capitol Hill where is widely considered a rising star. As for 72-year-old Lee, she would have been the first African American woman to serve in House leadership had she been elected. Asked after the vote whether ageism or sexism played a role in the results, Lee replied: “Well, I think you heard and saw what took place. So I absolutely think that’s the case.” Jeffries, however, said the race was just a “friendly competition of ideas.” Lee later said in a statement, “I want to congratulate Congressman Hakeem Jeffries on a hard-fought race. I look forward to working with him to advance a progressive, inclusive agenda for the American people. While I didn’t win today, I hope my candidacy will inspire other women, and women of color in particular, to run for elected office and seek leadership positions. Our Caucus can only succeed when every voice is represented in leadership.” More here.