A historic new group of leaders was chosen by House Democrats on Wednesday.
As the new head of the Democratic Caucus, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York will take over for Nancy Pelosi.
The 52-year-old Jeffries will lead a party in Congress for the first time as a Black lawmaker.
Katherine Clark of Massachusetts will serve as the whip, and Pete Aguilar of California, who now serves on the high-profile Jan. 6 committee, will be the No. 3 and the highest-ranking Latino in Congress.
Members cast secret ballots during elections that were conducted behind closed doors. The three sprinted unchallenged.
Following his victory, Jeffries issued a statement in which he said that he and his newly elected colleagues would carry on the traditions of their “iconic” forebears and work within the “seriousness and solemnity” of the current political climate.
“Together with my friends and leadership partners, the incoming Democratic Whip Katherine Clark and the upcoming Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar, I am very honored to accept this honor. Katherine, a trailblazer in the mold of Speaker Pelosi, symbolizes yet another significant breach in the glass ceiling, “said he. “She gives us all a sense of being seen and heard, and she is devoted to helping our Democratic Caucus. I have seen Pete work hard to get things done, putting in the kind of effort that only a former mayor would. Pete, Katherine, and I will collaborate closely to fight tenaciously for regular Americans.”
Pelosi made a statement praising Clark, Aguilar, and her replacement.
“Congratulations to Hakeem Jeffries, Katherine Clark, and Pete Aguilar, who have been selected as Leader, Whip, and Chairman, respectively. This new generation of leaders, who collectively embody the vitality and variety of our wonderful country, will reenergize our Caucus with their fresh ideas, perspectives, and energies. Our new Leaders are now fully confident in their ability to continue the Democratic Party’s struggle for working families and the defense of democracy, “She spoke.
Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer emphasized the “momentous” and historical significance of the newly elected leadership on the Senate floor before the elections: the advancement of the first Black American to preside over a chamber of Congress and the first Latino American to hold a No. 3 position.
“The appointment of Hakeem Jeffries as House Democratic Leader marks a turning point in the history of the US Congress. No leader of color, including African Americans, has ever held the office of party chairman in either chamber, “said he.
Following Pelosi’s pre-Thanksgiving statement that she intended to leave her position after 20 years, the new leadership has been ushered in. The 82-year-old leader stated in her statements prior to making her decision that she wanted to open the door for a “new generation” of oversight in the Democratic party.
Shortly after Pelosi’s announcement, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, 83, and House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, 82, also said they would leave their leadership positions.
The time has come for a new generation to take the helm of the Democratic caucus, which she said she held in the utmost regard.
Jeffries, in a statement following his election, noted his willingness to work with Republicans while continuing to fight for his party’s priorities.
“We are going to continue to put People Over Politics and fight for all our values. House Democrats will lift up working families, the middle class and those who aspire to be part of it, young people and senior citizens, veterans, the poor, the sick and the afflicted and the least, the lost and the left behind,” he said in a statement.