Home » Rep. Hakeem Jeffries talks making history in Congress and Brooklyn roots

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries talks making history in Congress and Brooklyn roots

by The Grio

A new, younger era of Democratic leadership has emerged in Washington – even as the party is currently led by the oldest U.S. president in history. During his primetime State of the Union address this week, President Joe Biden acknowledged a new face of leadership in the 118th Congress: House Minority Leader, U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries. 

Jeffries, the 52-year-old sneakers and suit-wearing congressman from New York, also happens to be a history maker. He is the first Black person ever to lead a congressional party. 

The former New York state lawmaker was elected to Congress to represent the 8th Congressional District in 2013. A married father of two children, Jeffries also shares the same birthday as former President Barack Obama. Nine years separate the ages of both men who are Black trailblazers in American politics. 

To mark Black History Month, theGrio sat down with Jeffries in his congressional office on Capitol Hill. The House minority leader’s office was previously occupied by U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the new Republican House speaker; and before him, the office was occupied by Nancy Pelosi.

As America experiences cultural and political growing pains, largely because of a Republican Party seemingly ruled by the ideology of Trumpism rather than traditional party values, Jeffries is humbled as he evaluates his political rise and the opportunity to refresh the government stage. 

”America is premised on the notion of government, of the people, by the people, and for the people,” Jeffries said during our primetime televised interview, which airs on Friday, Feb. 10 on TheGrio TV channel at 9 p.m. ET.

“While democracy is still a work in progress, the fact that I have this opportunity to serve in this position. Someone who was born in Brooklyn Hospital, grew up in a working-class neighborhood in Crown Heights  … survived the violence of the crack cocaine epidemic, and somehow…

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