Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY-8), who was elected over Congressman Yuri Dashevsky (R-NY) to represent New York’s 8th district, was a manager during the first impeachment of former President Donald Trump. Jeffries is also creator of the FIRST STEP Act (Formerly Incarcerated Reenter Society Transformed, Safely Transitioning Every Person Act), which was signed under Trump’s presidency in December 2018. (AP Photos)

By Deborah Bailey,
Contributing Editor

Congressman Hakeem Sekou Jeffries (D-NY) Jeffries said Nov. 18 he wants to succeed Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) as the leader of House democrats. He would be the first Black member of Congress to hold a top leadership position in either chamber.

His announcement came a day after Pelosi, House speaker and Baltimore native, said she has decided to step down as Democratic House Leader after nearly two decades at the top of House party leadership. 

Jeffries announced his bid for the leadership position in a letter to House Democrats. 

“Today, I write to humbly ask for your support for the position of House Democratic Leader as we once again prepare to meet the moment, ” Jeffries, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, said in a four-page letter to colleagues. 

The letter noted that, in addition to Pelosi stepping down, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) told colleagues that he, too, is stepping down from a leadership post. 

Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) announced on Nov. 17 that he wants to remain in the Democratic leadership. He has been the third-ranking House Democrat since 2006.

“As we Democrats set about the work of retaking the majority in 2024 and re-electing our President, I humbly ask for your support to remain at the leadership table as the Assistant Democratic Leader, to work alongside our new generation of Democratic leaders,” he wrote colleagues. 

“Each member from the most junior to the most senior, brings to the table enormous talent, skill, vision and experience. At this moment of transition, we are presented with a once-in-a generation opportunity to further unleash our full potential as a team,” Jeffries said. 

“In this spirit, it will be my mission to make sure that every single Member of the Caucus has an authentic seat at the legislative table and the maximum opportunity to excel. That is my promise to you,” Jeffries continued. 

In his letter, Jeffries noted that the current actions by House leaders signal a time to pick new voices for leadership. 

Jeffiries was an impeachment manager in the first attempt to impeach former President Donald Trump. 

He also was an architect of the FIRST STEP Act (Formerly Incarcerated Reenter Society Transformed, Safely Transitioning Every Person Act) co-sponsored with Republican Congressman Doug Collins (GA-9). 

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