Washington, Nov 30 (EFE).- Democrats in the United States House of Representatives on Wednesday elected African American Hakeem Jeffries to serve as their leader when the new Congress convenes in January.
The 52-year-old representative from New York will be the first black lawmaker to lead the Democrats or the Republicans in either house of Congress.
Head of the House Democratic Caucus since 2019, Jeffries has long been expected to succeed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as the top Democrat in the 435-seat chamber and he faced no opposition in Wednesday’s vote.
After Republicans won a majority in the House in the Nov. 8 mid-term elections, Pelosi announced that she would not seek the post of Minority Leader in the new Congress.
Pelosi has led the Democrats in the House for the last two decades, including two stints as Speaker.
Rep. Katherine Clark of Massachusetts, currently assistant speaker under Pelosi, was chosen to succeed Maryland’s Steny Hoyer as whip, and California Rep. Pete Aguilar was picked as caucus chair.
They were likewise elected without opposition.
“House Democrats fight for the people. That’s our story. That’s our legacy. That’s our values. That’s our commitment,” Jeffries said Wednesday.
He pledged to keep an “open mind” in relations with the Republican majority and said that he was ready to seek “common ground when possible,” but will “oppose their extremism when we must.”
The current House Minority Leader, California Rep. Kevin McCarthy, faces opposition within the Republican caucus and is not assured of becoming House Speaker in January. EFE