NEW YORK (PIX11) — U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, who represents parts of Brooklyn and Queens, announced his candidacy Friday to be the next House Democratic Leader, one day after longtime leader Nancy Pelosi said that her historic run was coming to an end.
In a four-page letter to colleagues obtained by PIX11 News, Jeffries requesting backing in his bid.
“Today, I write to humbly ask for your support for the position of House Democratic Leader as
we once again prepare to meet the moment,” wrote Jeffries in the letter, dated Friday.
Jeffries, who has represented New York’s 8th Congressional District since 2013, laid out his case for the position in the letter, citing in part his “track record of leadership experience” as chair of the House Democratic Caucus. He went on to state three “operating principles” for his candidacy, starting with empowering each Democratic representative.
“To further unleash our talent and ability in the most powerful fashion possible, the entire team should be on the playing field and put in position to elevate our individual strengths, interests and areas of expertise,” wrote Jeffries.
He additionally vowed to prioritize security, both for lawmakers and their families, as well as the American people.
“We have entered an era of unprecedented extremism, disinformation and political violence that
threatens our ability to serve the public without fear or favor,” wrote Jeffries, citing as one example the recent hammer attack on Pelosi’s husband, Paul, at the couple’s San Francisco home.
Finally, Jeffries said that he would work to regain the House majority Democrats lost earlier this month to Republicans in the midterm elections, while continuing to defend party ideals in the lower chamber.
“Our top non-governmental priority, for the sake of the American people, must be retaking the
majority in November 2024,” wrote Jeffries in part. “As we prepare to temporarily relinquish the gavels, House Democrats will be locked in a fierce governmental, political and messaging struggle.”
The next House Democratic Leader, whether Jeffries or another lawmaker, will face the first GOP-held House since early 2019.
They will also be tasked with filling the shoes of Pelosi, who announced Thursday that she was stepping down as party leader in 2023 following a momentous run spanning two decades.