New York lawmaker Hakeem Jeffries was selected as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s successor on Wednesday (Nov. 30). Earlier this month, Pelosi announced she would not be seeking reelection as her party’s leader. For two decades, the California politician was the top Democrat.
The historic selection makes Jeffries, 52, the first Black leader of a major political party in U.S. history. The next Congress begins on Jan. 3 with Republicans as the majority. Republicans narrowly won control of the legislature during this year’s midterm elections.
“Today, with immense pride, I stood in front of the House Democratic Caucus as a candidate for Democratic leader, and I am eternally grateful for the trust my colleagues placed in me with their votes,” said Jeffries in a statement.
According to CNN, Jeffries hopes to “lead an effort that centers our communication strategy around the messaging principle that values unite, issues divide.” His top priorities include supporting legislation on reproductive rights, tackling the nation’s inflation rate, and creating laws to help immigrants become legal citizens.
With Pelosi vacating her position, that left two additional roles to be filled. Current Assistant Speaker Rep. Katherine Clark will now serve as whip, and Rep. Pete Aguilar will take on Jeffries’ previous role as Democratic Caucus chairman.
Pelosi made history when she became the first female House speaker in 2007. In her final run as speaker, the 82-year-old helped lead the charge to hold Former President Donald Trump accountable for his role in encouraging thousands of people to storm the Capitol during the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection.
The media personality officially announced his bid for a second term in the Oval Office on Nov. 15. If elected, he would become the first president to serve two nonconsecutive terms. Sitting President Joe Biden has not made a formal announcement about his future plans in the White House.