The contest between President Obama and Mitt Romney might have been a nail biter. But there has been little question whatsoever as to who would be the winner of a congressional race within central Brooklyn.
In fact, ever since Hakeem Jeffries won a Democratic primary in September to succeed retiring Congressman Edolphus Towns, his ascension to the congressional seat has long been viewed as a foregone conclusion. His district in Brooklyn is a highly Democratic one and few residents even know the name of Jeffries’ Republican opponent (he is businessman Alan Bellone, by the way).
Winning the general election represents an honor, Jeffries said, in an interview with BET.com. “I am humbled to be selected by the people of Brooklyn.”
But far from basking in the thrill of victory, Jeffries focused more on how his election represented a responsibility to work frantically to reduce the struggles of people in his district who had been devastated by Hurricane Sandy.
“Life changed dramatically on Oct. 29 for the people I look forward to representing,” Jeffries said, referring to the date the hurricane hit the New York area.
“There is significant destruction, despair and dislocation. And it’s the job of every elected official to make sure that government supplies whatever is necessary for people to get back on their feet.”
In the last few weeks, Jeffries has spent much of his time immersed in efforts to provide assistance to victims of the hurricane. “There were many parts of the district that were hit hard by the storm,” he said. “These communities were knocked down, but we are going to rebuild and restore normalcy. I’m committed to making sure that all levels of government provide the resources necessary to help the areas hit hard by this storm.”
Jeffries, a former corporate lawyer who was elected to the New York State Assembly in 2006, will be one of the newest members of the Congressional Black Caucus when he is sworn into Congress in January. He is already considered one of the rising stars of the new Congress, having raised more than $100,000 for other congressional candidates.
Jeffries is widely known for being an active legislator, having introduced more than 70 bills in his time in the Assembly, including measures designed to assist residents facing foreclosure of their homes. He has also been an outspoken opponent of the New York Police Department’s controversial “stop-and-frisk” program.”
He prefers not to use the description of himself as a rising star. Instead, he said only that he looks forward to his new job. “I am excited about being part of a progressive team that fights for social and economic justice and that stands up for working families and senior citizens,” he said.
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(Photo: Courtesy of Hakeem Jeffries)