(FiveNation.com)- Nancy Pelosi’s final days as House Speaker are quickly winding down, and so, too, are her days as the head of the Democratic Party in the House.
This week, Democratic caucus chair Hakeem Jeffries from New York was selected by his liberal colleagues to succeed Pelosi as leader of the party in the lower chamber. He’ll become the minority leader in the House, and will become the first Black person to lead either the Republican or Democratic Party in both the House and Senate.
The decision was made during a closed-door meeting of House Democrats on Wednesday.
Liberals weren’t given much of a choice as to who to vote for, though. Jeffries was running unopposed for the position. The other people running for prominent leadership positions within the party were Katherine Clark from Massachusetts for the whip and Peter Aguilar from California as the caucus leader.
The new team of Jeffries, Clark and Aguilar will the Democratic Party in the majority starting in the next Congress early in 2023, which will be the first time in the last two terms that liberals will be in the minority.
Jeffries is only 52 years old, and serves as a huge swing to a younger generation within the Democratic Party. Clark is 59 years old and Aguilar is 43 years old.
That’s a stark difference from the ages of the previous leaders of the Democratic Party in the House — Pelosi at 82 years old, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer at 83 years old, and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn at 82 years old.
In addition to Pelosi, both Hoyer and Clyburn announced in recent weeks that they would be stepping down from their current leadership positions in the party, though Clyburn is expected to serve in the role of assistant leader during the next Congress.
In 2019, Jeffries rose up to the role of Democratic caucus chairman, which made him the youngest member of the leadership team. Now, he’s leading the entire party in the lower chamber, in a huge youth movement.
During a meeting of the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee one night before the vote, Pelosi was designated as the “Speaker Emerita.” Before that happened, though, she blessed the three news expected leaders of House Democrats when she herself announced she would be stepping down from leadership.
In the statement she released then, she said:
“A new day is dawning — and I am confident that these new leaders will capably lead our Caucus and the Congress.”
On Thursday night, she reiterated the support she had for Jeffries. She told reporters during a gathering that she was feeling “great, and happy, and relieved” about Jeffries being her successor.
In a statement of his own, Jeffries commented that he hopes to “lead an effort that centers our communication strategy around the messaging principle that values unit, issues divide.”
While he praised the past leadership team of House Democrats, he added 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.”