Hakeem Jeffries

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Hakeem Jeffries
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 8th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2013
Preceded by Jerrold Nadler
Member of the New York State Assembly
from the 57th district
In office
January 1, 2007 – December 31, 2012
Preceded by Roger Green
Succeeded by Walter Mosley
Personal details
Born (1970-08-04) August 4, 1970 (age 44)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Alma mater Binghamton University
Georgetown University
New York University
Religion Baptist[1]
Website House website

Hakeem Sekou Jeffries (born August 4, 1970)[2] is a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives, representing New York's 8th congressional district in Brooklyn and Queens and is running again for the seat in 2014. Prior to that he was a corporate lawyer for Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison then Viacom and CBS, before running for and serving in the New York State Assembly from 2007 to 2012, representing the 57th Assembly district.[3][4]

Early life and education[edit]

He grew up in Crown Heights, Brooklyn and received his bachelor's in political science from Binghamton University with honors. Additionally, he graduated from New York University School of Law and obtained a master's degree in public policy from Georgetown University.[1]

Law career[edit]

He served as a clerk for Judge Harold Baer, Jr., then worked in the litigation department of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison before becoming assistant litigator for Viacom and CBS.[5][6]

New York Assembly[edit]


In 2000, he challenged incumbent Democratic Assemblyman Roger Green in the primary who defeated him 59 percent to 41 percent.[7][8] In the general election, Jeffries ran on the Independence Party line, and Green defeated him again, this time 90 percent to his 7 percent.[9]

Two years later, after redistricting, his residence was put out of the 57th Assembly District. Jeffries claimed in the 2010 documentary film Gerrymandering that it was a retaliatory move (a charge denied by Green).[10][11] He challenged Green again in the Democratic primary and lost again, by 24 points.[12][13]

In 2006 Green decided to retire from the Assembly in order to run for New York's 10th congressional district against incumbent Democrat U.S. Congressman Ed Towns. Jeffries ran for the 57th district again and won the Democratic primary, defeating Bill Batson and Freddie Hamilton 64 percent to 25 percent and 11 percent.[14][15][16] In the general election, he handily defeated Republican nominee Henry Weinstein.[17]

Two years later, in 2008, he won re-election to a second term, defeating the Republican candidate Charles Brickhouse, with 98 percent of the vote.[18] In 2010 he won re-election to a third term, easily defeating the Republican candidate Frank Voyticky.[19]


During his three years in the legislature he introduced over 70 bills during his service in legislative session.[20] In response to a series of toy recalls, he introduced bill A02589, which would penalize retailers and wholesalers who knowingly sell to the public hazardous or dangerous toys that have been the subject of a recall.

He also wrote and sponsored the hotly contested house bill A. 11177-A (now law) that eliminated the stop-and-frisk database used by police forces in New York City.[21][22] He is a cautious supporter of Bruce Ratner's controversial Atlantic Yards project.[15]

Committee assignments[edit]

  • State House Committee on Banks
  • State House Committee on Codes
  • State House Committee on Corporations, Authorities, and Commissions
  • State House Committee on Correction
  • State House Committee on Housing
  • State House Committee on Judiciary
    • State House Subcommittee on Banking in Underserved Communities
    • State House Subcommittee on Mitchell-Lama
    • State House Subcommittee on Transitional Services
    • State House Subcommittee on Trust and Estates[23]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]


Jeffries announced he would give up his seat to run in New York's 8th congressional district in 2012. The district had previously been the 10th, represented by 30-year incumbent Democrat Edolphus Towns. Jeffries expected to give Towns a strong challenge in the Democratic primary—the real contest in this heavily Democratic, black-majority district.[24][25][26] However, Towns announced his retirement on April 16, leaving Jeffries to face city councilman Charles Barron in the Democratic primary.[27]

Representative Hakeem Jeffries

On June 11, 2012, former Mayor Ed Koch, Congressman Jerrold Nadler, Councilman David Greenfield, and Assemblyman Dov Hikind gathered with several other elected officials to support Jeffries and denounce Barron. The officials described Barron as anti-Semitic and denounced his allegedly anti-Semitic statements, while also denouncing his support of Zimbabwe ruler Robert Mugabe and former Libya ruler Muammar Gaddafi.[28] Barron responded that such attacks were a distraction from bread and butter issues.[29]

Green Party candidate Colin Beavan called on Jeffries to "get the money out of politics", noting that as of his March 2012 filing, "he had received about $180,000, or 35 percent of his funds, from Wall Street bankers and their lawyers". Beaven added that Jeffries gets many campaign donations from charter school backers and hedge fund managers.[30] After primary night, when asked about his two most important concerns, Jeffries replied eliminating the "crushing burden" of private religious school education costs.[31]

After out-raising him by hundreds of thousands of dollars,[3][32] Jeffries defeated Barron in the primary election on June 26, 2012, 72 to 28 percent. The New York Daily News analyzed Jeffries' donations in the last weeks of the campaign and found almost 50 percent came from out of state.[33] He went on to defeat Beavan and Republican Alan Bellone in the November general election with 71 percent of the vote,[3][34] but not before boycotting a debate with the other candidates, saying that the presence of the Green Party and Republican candidates at the debate would "confuse" voters.[35]

On January 3, 2013, Jeffries was sworn into the 113th Congress.


Since fall 2006 he has been a cautious supporter of Bruce Ratner's controversial Atlantic Yards project.[15]

He has opposed the Keystone XL pipeline, but also voted against an amendment that would have restrict sales of oil transported on the pipeline to within the United States.[36]

He is staunchly pro-Israel, saying at a rally in July 2014 "Israel should not be made to apologize for its strength. You know why, because the only thing that neighbors respect in a tough neighborhood is strength."


On April 11, 2013, Jeffries introduced the Prison Ship Martyrs' Monument Preservation Act (H.R. 1501; 113th Congress) into the United States House of Representatives. The bill would direct the Secretary of the Interior to study the suitability and feasibility of designating the Prison Ship Martyrs' Monument in Fort Greene Park in the New York City borough of Brooklyn as a unit of the National Park System (NPS).[37] Jeffries said that "as one of America's largest revolutionary war burial sites and in tribute to the patriots that lost their lives fighting for our nation's independence, this monument deserves to be considered as a unit of the National Park Service."[38]

On July 15, 2014, Jeffries introduced the To establish the Law School Clinic Certification Program of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (H.R. 5108; 113th Congress), a bill that would establish the Law School Clinic Certification Program of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to be available to accredited law schools for the ten-year period after enactment of the Act.[39]

Committee assignments[edit]


He hand-picked and backed Laurie Cumbo in the hotly-contested race for Brooklyn's 35th district city council seat,[40][41] who moved into the district just prior to running. She became controversial for anti-semitic comments she made to explain a spate of attacks in Crown Heights.[42][43][44]

He and new Brooklyn DA Kenneth Thompson have supported each other's campaigns: They met while Jeffries was an intern at the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District and Thompson was a prosecutor.[45]

He endorsed Bill Thompson in the 2013 NYC mayoral race, saying that he was offended by Bill de Blasio's ad featuring stop and frisk claiming himself as the only candidate who would address, modify or reform stop and frisk:

"In some ways, I'm offended by the notion that one individual, in a city of eight million people, after years and years and years of many of us, in the state legislature and the City Council, activists, marches that took place, including one on Father's Day, to get us to a point where all of the major mayoral candidates have said stop and frisk will be significantly reformed on their watch."

His support of Thompson over de Blasio came in spite of Jeffries' own support of two policing bills, for independent inspector general for the police department and to allow for bias suits in state court, which de Blasio backed but Thompson did not. Jeffries said it made sense for Thompson, because he was running to be the city's top executive, not to support them.[46] In 2014, he supported Rubain Dorancy as Democratic candidate for state senate, who lost to Jesse Hamilton[47] by a wide margin.[48]

Personal life and family[edit]

He is married to Kennisandra Arciniegas-Jeffries, a social worker with 1199 SEIU's Benefit Fund.[49] They have two boys, Jeremiah (born 2002) and Joshua (born 2004)[1][31] and live in Prospect Heights.[6] Jeffries is also the nephew of CUNY professor Leonard Jeffries, Jr.[31]


  1. ^ a b c "Assembly Member Hakeem Jeffries (NY)". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved 5 August 2010. 
  2. ^ "Hakeem Sekou Jeffries – New York – Bio, News, Photos". Washington Times. 2012-10-12. Retrieved 2013-09-28. 
  3. ^ a b c Kuntzman, Gersh (2012-06-27). "Hakeem Jeffries Defeats Charles Barron in Bitter Democratic Primary - The Local – Fort-Greene Blog - NYTimes.com". Fort-greene.thelocal.nytimes.com. Retrieved 2013-09-28. 
  4. ^ Schapiro, Julie; Colvin, Jill (7 November 2012). "New York Elections 2012: Gillibrand, Jeffries, Meng Declare Victory As Obama Wins Reelection". huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved 8 November 2012. 
  5. ^ "Hakeem Jeffries, 35, Assistant general counsel". Crains. 
  6. ^ a b "Hakeem Jeffries". Hakeem Jeffries 2014. 
  7. ^ "NY Assembly 57 – D Primary Race – Sep 12, 2000". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2013-09-28. 
  8. ^ Hicks, Jonathan P. (22 July 2002). "Rematch Produces Spirited Primary Race for Assembly Seat in Brooklyn". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 March 2011. 
  9. ^ "NY Assembly 57 Race – Nov 07, 2000". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2013-09-28. 
  10. ^ "How Hakeem Jeffries Was Gerrymandered Out of His Own District and Other True Tales". 25 February 2011. Retrieved 26 March 2011. 
  11. ^ "How Hakeem Jeffries Became the Barack of Brooklyn". The New York Observer. 1 March 2011. Retrieved 26 March 2011. 
  12. ^ "NY Assembly 57 – D Primary Race – Sep 10, 2002". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2013-09-28. 
  13. ^ "Eye On Albany: Campaign 2002". Gotham Gazette. Retrieved 26 March 2011. 
  14. ^ "NY Assembly 57- D Primary Race – Sep 12, 2006". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2013-09-28. 
  15. ^ a b c "Desperately seeking spitzer". Daily News (New York). September 9, 2006. Retrieved 5 August 2010. [dead link]
  16. ^ "Summer 2007" (PDF). Prime New York. Retrieved 5 August 2010. 
  17. ^ "NY Assembly 57 Race – Nov 07, 2006". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2013-09-28. 
  18. ^ "NY Assembly 57 Race – Nov 04, 2008". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2013-09-28. 
  19. ^ "NY Assembly 57 Race – Nov 02, 2010". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2013-09-28. 
  20. ^ "Hakeem Jeffries: Sponsored Legislation". New York State Assembly. Retrieved 5 August 2010. 
  21. ^ Hasselle, Della (16 July 2010). "Gov. David Paterson Signs Law Ending Stop-and-Frisk Database". Digital Network Associates dba DNAinfo.com. Retrieved 9 August 2010. 
  22. ^ BAKER, AL; MOYNIHAN, COLIN (16 July 2010). "Paterson Signs Bill Limiting Stop-and-Frisk Data". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 August 2010. 
  23. ^ [1][dead link]
  24. ^ Freedlander, David (March 1, 2011). "How Hakeem Jeffries Became the Barack of Brooklyn". The New York Observer. Retrieved April 21, 2011. 
  25. ^ Isenstadt, Alex (May 19, 2011). "New York politicians go to town on House bid". Politico. Retrieved May 20, 2011. 
  26. ^ Freedlander, David (May 9, 2011). "Hakeem Jeffries Opens Congressional Exploratory Committee". The New York Observer. Retrieved May 21, 2011. 
  27. ^ Dobnik, Verena (2012-04-16). "NYC's Towns retiring after 30 years in Congress". Associated Press. 
  28. ^ Walker, Hunter. "Politicians Gather To Denounce Charles Barron As An 'Anti-Semite' And 'Enemy of the State of Israel'". Politicker. Retrieved 2013-09-28. 
  29. ^ Charles Barron Dismisses 'Anti-Semitic' Press Conference As A 'Distraction' Politicker, June 11, 2012
  30. ^ Update: Is Charles Barron 'Surging'? How Would You Know? New York Times, June 18, 2012
  31. ^ a b c Perlman, Matthew J. "The Big Profile: Who Is Hakeem Jeffries?". Fort-greene.thelocal.nytimes.com. Retrieved 24 December 2012. 
  32. ^ "Jeffries Adds Southern Brooklyn Muscle in Race Against Barron/". The New York Times. 
  33. ^ "Out-of-state donors helped Hakeem Jeffries defeat Charles Barron in 8th Congressional District Democratic primary". New York: NY Daily News. July 30, 2012. 
  34. ^ "Your full guide to election returns". Home Reporter News. Retrieved 8 November 2012. 
  35. ^ "Residents Outraged at Hakeem Jeffries' Debate Boycott". DNAinfo New York. 
  36. ^ "Which 19 House Democrats Just Voted for the Keystone XL Pipeline?". Daily Kos. Retrieved 2013-09-28. 
  37. ^ "H.R. 1501 – Summary". United States Congress. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  38. ^ "Bill To Preserve Brooklyn's Prison Ship Martyrs' Monument Passes The House Of Representatives". Office of Congressman Hakeem Jeffries. 29 April 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  39. ^ "H.R. 5108 – Summary". United States Congress. Retrieved 16 September 2014. 
  40. ^ "U.S. Congressman Hakeem Jeffries endorses Laurie Cumbo for NYC Council". Terrence Jennings. 2013-09-28. 
  41. ^ "Pro-Development PAC Donation Causes Bad Blood in 35th District Race". dnainfo.com. Retrieved 2013-09-28. 
  42. ^ Mathias, Christopher (5 December 2013). "Laurie Cumbo Says 'Knockout' Attacks In Brooklyn Caused By Resentment Of Jewish Success". Huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved January 7, 2014. 
  43. ^ "NYC councilwoman's talk of black-Jewish resentment, 'knockouts' called racist". New York: NY Daily News. Retrieved January 7, 2014. 
  44. ^ "Laurie Cumbo Says 'Knockout' Attacks In Brooklyn Caused By Resentment Of Jewish Success news". Dailynewsen.com. December 5, 2013. Retrieved January 7, 2014. 
  45. ^ "Announcing His Campaign Hakeem Jeffries Talks Loudly About Obama and Quietly About Ed Towns". Capital New York. 
  46. ^ Pillifant, Reid (Aug 22, 2013). "'Offended' by de Blasio's ad, Hakeem Jeffries endorses Bill Thompson". Capital New York. 
  47. ^ http://www.brooklyneagle.com/articles/2014/9/16/praise-brooklyn%E2%80%99s-democratic-leader-seddio-post-primary-breakfast
  48. ^ http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/news/headlines-breaking-stories/257627/crown-heights-jesse-hamilton-wins-big-in-senate-vote.html
  49. ^ "Kennisandra Arciniegas-Jeffries". FindtheData.org. 

External links[edit]

New York Assembly
Preceded by
Roger Green
Member of the New York Assembly
from the 57th district

Succeeded by
Walter Mosley
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Jerrold Nadler
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 8th congressional district

United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Jared Huffman
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
David Joyce