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Eric H. Holder, Jr. grew up in a one-family brick and wood duplex in a quiet East Elmhurst neighborhood. Now 57, Holder is primed to become President-elect Barack Obama’s official nominee for United States Attorney General.
Currently a litigation partner at a Washington, D.C. law firm where he handles civil and criminal cases, domestic and international advisory matters and internal corporate investigations, Holder became Obama’s frontrunner after rising through the ranks of the New York City Public Schools, the Ivy League and the Department of Justice (DOJ).
A graduate of Stuyvesant High School and Columbia’s undergraduate and law schools, Holder served for five years as an Associate Judge of the Superior Court in Washington, D.C., having been nominated to the post by President Ronald Reagan in 1988.
Next, President Bill Clinton nominated Holder to become the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, the largest U.S. Attorney’s office in the nation. Holder served in that position for four years - the first black person to do so - before Clinton appointed him Deputy Attorney General, the number two position in the DOJ.
Now, just over a decade later, Holder appears to be on the brink of becoming number one - and his old neighborhood is proud and not the least bit surprised.
“It’s going to be great,” said Abdul Chowdhury, 46, who has lived across the street from Holder’s mother Miriam for 22 years. “First of all, it’s my neighbor - but he’s not only my neighbor, he’s a great guy.”
Chowdhury hopes Holder, if confirmed by the Senate, looks after his former community, to which he regularly returns.
After all, Chowdhury thinks the prospective Attorney General learned a lot from East Elmhurst.
“East Elmhurst is a great place to be. It’s a very quiet neighborhood. Mostly, people who live in this neighborhood are very educated people,” Chowdhury said, noting that when he lived in places like Astoria and Jackson Heights the residents were not nearly as friendly.
“This is one of the great things,” Chowdhury continued excitedly. “If you grow up in this kind of neighborhood, you are most likely going to be a well-mannered guy because you have no choice - you learn from somebody else.”
Indeed, Chowdhury called Holder a “smart young man” and a “nice, polite guy.”
Obama is expected to announce Holder, who presently resides in Washington, D.C. with his wife and three children, as his official nominee in the coming weeks. The Bronx-born lawyer would have to undergo a Senate confirmation hearing before he became the 82nd Attorney General of the United States, and the first black one ever appointed.

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