‘A new era of leadership’: Queens, NYC electeds celebrate Jeffries as new Democratic leader of the House

Hakeem Jeffriesw

Several elected officials from Queens and throughout the city on Wednesday celebrated the election of Brooklyn Congressman Hakeem Jeffries as the new Democratic Speaker of the House of Representatives. He becomes the first African American to be elected as a Congressional leader.

Jeffries has represented New York’s eighth congressional district since 2013.

Queens Congresswoman Grace Meng has known Jeffries since she first joined the New York state Legislature in 2009. She said it wasn’t long before she viewed him as a friend and role model.

“From the Assembly to Congress, I have always valued his advice — whether on moving legislation or how to best support constituents,” Congresswoman Meng said. “He is studious, smart and does not seek headlines for himself. Instead, he selflessly goes out of his way to make sure that colleagues are recognized for their work and shine in the spotlight. He is a collaborative leader who will seek out and include as many voices as possible. He sees the strengths in each of our colleagues and will work to ensure that these talents are fully recognized and utilized.”

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. tweeted his congratulations to Jeffries.

Queens Councilwoman Adrienne Adams, who serves as the speaker of the City Council, also congratulated Jeffries on Wednesday.

“I congratulate Congressman Hakeem Jeffries on being elected as House Democratic Leader and becoming the first Black lawmaker to lead any party in Congress,” Adams said. “From the New York State Assembly to the United States House of Representatives, Congressman Jeffries has honorably served communities in Brooklyn and Queens for many years. New York City and the entire country are grateful for his leadership. I look forward to continuing to work closely with Congressman Jeffries to improve the lives of all New Yorkers, and the leadership he will bring to this nation.”

Following the 2022 midterm elections, republicans gained a slim majority of seats in the House of Representatives over the democrats. As of Nov. 30, the seats stand at 220 Republicans and 213 Democrats, with two seats still up in the air.

“There is no better advocate for our democratic values than Brooklyn’s own Rep. Hakeem Jeffries,” New York Governor Kathy Hochul said. “From his time in the state Assembly to his current tenure in Congress, Rep. Jeffries has been fighting for the people — for our democracy, for public safety, for criminal justice reform and for the communities he serves. I congratulate Rep. Jeffries on his historic election as House Democratic Leader, a major achievement that will usher in a new era of leadership for the 118th Congress. I am proud to call Rep. Jeffries a friend and am confident he will continue to be an unwavering partner as we work together to get things done for New Yorkers. New Yorkers — and all Americans — are lucky to have Rep. Jeffries in their corner.”

Nancy Pelosi served as the previous democratic speaker of the House. When she took on the role in 2003, Pelosi became the first woman to be elected as the congressional leader of any party in the country.

“A barrier has been broken and today we start a new chapter in our nation’s history with the election of Congress member Hakeem Jeffries as House Minority Leader — the first Black lawmaker to lead a political party in Congress,” New York City Mayor Eric Adams said. “New York City will have a champion in our nation’s capital while we continue to fight for our fair share of federal funding and a multitude of other priorities that will support New Yorkers. I look forward to continuing to partner with my good friend and Brooklyn’s native son.”

“I have had the pleasure of knowing and working with Hakeem Jeffries, both in Albany and New York City, for many years,”  Harlem Assemblyman and Leader of the New York County Democrats, Keith L.T. Wright, said. “What struck me most about him is the way he expertly navigated different constituencies and points of view, always with a political and emotional intelligence that bridged divides and got things done. This uncanny ability to relate to those with whom he may not agree and find compromise across the aisle is just what the Congress and the country, need during these deeply divided times. His ascent to the top of the House Democratic Caucus is well deserved and a great source of pride for all of us in New York who watched him develop into the leader he is today.”

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