Hakeem Jeffries was born in Brooklyn Hospital and raised in Crown Heights. He is a product of New York City’s public school system, having graduated from Midwood High School, and currently lives in Prospect Heights with his family.
On November 6, 2012, Hakeem overwhelmingly won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in the newly redrawn Eighth Congressional district. He will succeed a thirty-year incumbent in a district largely anchored in Brooklyn and parts of Southwest Queens.
Hakeem has recently been appointed to the Judiciary and Budget committees. In the 113th Congress, he looks forward to working on economic growth, reforming the criminal justice system, preventing gun violence and assisting neighborhoods in the district that were devastated by Super Storm Sandy.
Prior to his election to the Congress, Hakeem served for six years in the New York State Assembly. In that capacity, he authored laws that included protecting the civil liberties of law-abiding New Yorkers during police encounters, encouraging the transformation of vacant luxury condominiums into affordable homes for working families, and improving the quality of justice in the civil court system.
In 2010, Hakeem successfully sponsored legislation that prohibits the New York Police Department from maintaining an electronic database with the personal information of individuals who are stopped, questioned and frisked during a police encounter, but not charged with a crime or violation. This law is widely regarded as the only meaningful reform of the police department’s aggressive and controversial stop and frisk program.
That same year, Hakeem sponsored and championed groundbreaking civil rights legislation to end prison-based gerrymandering in New York State, a practice that undermined the democratic principle of one person, one vote. With its passage, New York became only the second state in the country to count incarcerated individuals in their home communities for purposes of legislative redistricting, rather than in the counties where they are temporarily incarcerated.
Hakeem obtained his bachelor’s degree in political science from the State University of New York at Binghamton, where he graduated with honors for outstanding academic achievement. He then received his master’s degree in public policy from Georgetown University. Thereafter, Hakeem attended New York University School of Law, where he graduated magna cum laude and served on the Law Review.
Following the completion of law school, Hakeem clerked for the Honorable Harold Baer Jr. of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Prior to his election to the Assembly, he practiced law for several years at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, an internationally renowned law firm, and then served as counsel in the litigation department of two Fortune 100 companies, Viacom Inc. and CBS.