Congressional District 8, which comprises parts of Brooklyn and Queens, is represented in the New York State Assembly by Hakeem Jeffries. Rep. Jeffries sits on the Judiciary and Budget committees in his sixth term in Congress.
In November of 2018, Rep. Jeffries won election as chairman of the House Democratic Caucus. He is the House of Representatives’ fifth-ranking Democrat. He co-chaired the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee and was the Whip of the Congressional Black Caucus, two groups instrumental in developing the For the People agenda.
In the House of Representatives, Rep. Jeffries has been a staunch advocate for advancing economic and social fairness. He battled valiantly to protect our health care system from right-wing attacks while also helping COVID-19 victims, reforming our criminal justice system, and improving the economy.
Jeffries was a leading voice in the 116th Congress, helping to secure approval of many bills from both sides of the aisle and key interest groups. A variety of efforts were taken with the goal of improving government regulations and assistance programs. Some of these pieces of legislation include HR 2426, which would establish a copyright small claims board to protect the works of the creative middle class, HR 4508, which would increase scholarship opportunities for women in Pakistan, HR 5065, which would provide entrepreneurship counseling and training to formerly incarcerated individuals, and HR 5065 which would protect the attorney-client privilege for incarcerated individuals’ electronic correspondence with their legal counsel.
Rep. Jeffries is one of seven House Impeachment Managers designated by Speaker Nancy Pelosi for President Trump’s trial in the Senate beginning in January 2020. He made history by being the first African American to hold that position. Rep. Jeffries called for Trump’s ouster, saying the president abused his authority by pressuring Ukraine to spy on an American citizen as part of a fraudulent plot to influence the 2020 election. The House’s Impeachment Managers have uncovered evidence of serious violations of the Constitution. The Senate failed to remove the President despite having no witnesses.
On June 25, 2020, the House of Representatives voted to pass H.R. 7120. The chokehold and other dangerous methods, such as a knee to the neck, were made illegal thanks to the work of Representative Jeffries on this landmark police reform bill. Rep. Jeffries is dedicated to enacting police reform and advancing justice for everyone, and he plans to do it in collaboration with his colleagues in the House.
Representative Jeffries was instrumental in shaping the legislative response to the COVID-19 outbreak. He ran on a platform to aid state and local governments whose budgets had been wiped out by the virus, to provide emergency unemployment compensation, and to support policies that would assist keep Americans in their homes. Representative Jeffries collaborated with Republican New York State Assemblyman Peter King to secure multibillion-dollar CARES Act funding for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Representative Jeffries collaborated with Governor Andrew Cuomo to establish walk-in testing locations in New York City places of worship. He criticized the police’s use of “social distance” to suppress racial tensions and advocated for change. Rep. Jeffries helps those in his community who are in need by delivering meals, masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer.
Bipartisan criminal justice reform legislation was signed into law in December2018, and Rep. Jeffries was the chief Democratic sponsor. The law, which Rep. Jeffries co-authored with Rep. Doug Collins, is widely regarded as the most substantial improvement to the criminal justice system in a decade.
Crack cocaine sentencing inequalities that harmed individuals, families, and communities have been retrospectively reduced thanks to the FIRST STEP Act. Inmates may reduce their sentences by up to 54 days every year according to this provision of legislation. The new rule goes into effect immediately, helping thousands of inmates whose parents are now behind bars. It allots $375 million to be spent over the course of five years on re-entry programs including education and vocational training, with the goal of lowering recidivism and facilitating reintegration. Low-risk criminals would be eligible for home confinement and the Bureau of Prisons will be required to house offenders within 500 miles of their families. The FIRST STEP Act makes it illegal to restrain a pregnant woman, while she is giving birth, or for three months following.
New York’s 8th Congressional District is well represented in Washington by Rep. Jeffries, who consistently puts in effort for and communicates with his voters back home. Every year in January, the representative delivers an address on the “State of the District.” In the spring and summer, he holds outdoor office hours called “Congress on Your Corner.” The congressman usually sets up a booth in front of the local post office or on a busy intersection so he may meet with locals. Every so often, he does phone town halls where constituents may call in and talk to him about issues both near and far.
The six years that Rep. Jeffries spent in Albany were productive ones for the New York Democrat. He worked to strengthen civil court justice, provide incentives for the conversion of empty luxury condominiums into affordable homes for working families, and protect the civil freedoms of law-abiding New Yorkers during police encounters.
In 2010, Representative Jeffries spearheaded the first legislative effort to alter the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk program. His legislation prevents the New York Police Department to keep a database of people who have been stopped, questioned, and frisked without being formally charged with a crime or misdemeanor.
In the same year, Rep. Jeffries backed and pushed for legislation to end prison-based gerrymandering in New York. One person, one vote is undermined by the antiquated practice of counting prisoners in jails rather than at their homes. By passing Jeffries’ legislation, New York became the second state to include prisoners in district counts.
Representative Jeffries earned his degree in political science with high honors from State University of New York in Binghamton. His master’s degree in public policy came from Georgetown University. Rep. Jeffries attended and graduated with distinction from New York University Law School, where he also participated on the Law Review.
After graduating from law school, Representative Jeffries clerked for the Honorable Harold Baer Jr. of the United States District Court. After that, he joined Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP.