SAN PEDRO (CNS) - Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán, D-San Pedro, was the lead nominator Wednesday for New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries to be the minority leader of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Jeffries takes over the Democratic leadership position from Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, who served as both Speaker of the House and minority leader since 2007, but stepped aside after Republicans regained control of the chamber in the Nov. 8 election.
The 52-year-old Jeffries was elected to the post unanimously in a closed-door meeting Wednesday morning. He is the first Black person to lead one of the two major U.S. political parties in Congress.
"Hakeem Jeffries is a defender of democracy, a masterful messenger, a sophisticated legislator, a tough impeachment prosecutor, and compassionate champion for the people," Barragán said in her speech.
"Hakeem Jeffries, like Dr. King, believes we need to act with the fierce urgency of now to make America work for all Americans, especially the marginalized, the poor, the middle- and working-class -- or as he says, the least, the lost and the left-behind -- the fierce urgency of now to push policies that address racial, social and economic injustice. Progressive policies that will move us forward.
"... Hakeem Jeffries, as our caucus chair, kept us together through the darkest times of the pandemic, the deadly insurrection on January 6, and a once-in-a-generation economic crisis," Barragán continued. "Now, he will lead us into the next Congress and back into the majority stronger than ever with that same fierce urgency of now. Because Hakeem Jeffries knows that failure is not an option.
"Hakeem Jeffries is a consensus builder, a listener, a collaborator, a fighter -- put simply, Hakeem Jeffries is a leader. And as they say in Brooklyn -- if you don't know, now you know.
"This is a historic day filled with promise and new beginnings. I proudly place his name into nomination."
Jeffries said he planned to "lead an effort that centers our communication strategy around the messaging principle that values unite, issues divide," adding that "more must be done to combat inflation, defend our democracy, secure reproductive freedom, welcome new Americans, promote equal protection under the law and improve public safety throughout this country."
Barragán represents California's 44th Congressional District, which includes the communities of Carson, Compton, Florence-Firestone, Lynwood, North Long Beach, Rancho Dominguez, San Pedro, South Gate, Walnut Park, Watts, Willowbrook and Wilmington.