About Hakeem

Congressman Hakeem Jeffries has proudly represented New York’s Eighth Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives since taking office on January 3, 2013. The incredibly vibrant and diverse Eighth Congressional District encompasses neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Southwest Queens, including Bedford-Stuyvesant, Canarsie, East New York, Clinton Hill, Fort Greene, Coney Island and Ozone Park. He overwhelmingly won the seat in the 2012 election, succeeding a thirty-year incumbent.

Since his arrival in Congress, Hakeem has been at the forefront of a wide range of progressive initiatives. Dubbed by the Washington Post as “Brooklyn’s Barack Obama,” he has consistently fought for job creation, quality education, affordable housing, gun control, unemployment insurance, a fair minimum wage and the protection of indispensable safety net programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.

Hakeem is the newly elected Chair of the House Democratic Caucus. He is the former Co-Chair of the House Democratic Policy & Communications Committee, where he helped form the policies and messages that won back the House in 2018. He is also the former Whip of the Congressional Black Caucus and is a founder of the Criminal Justice & Public Safety Caucus.

Hakeem currently serves on the House Education and the Workforce Committee, including the subcommittees on Higher Education and Workforce Training and on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions and the House Judiciary Committee, including the subcommittees on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet and on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law.

Hakeem has proven to be a real leader of bipartisan cooperation. He played a key role in writing and passing the First Step Act in 2018, the most far-reaching criminal justice reform in a decade. He also greatly assisted in advancing the Innovation Act, a patent reform bill, through the House chamber in November 2013. He also is actively involved on the Judiciary Committee Task Force on Overcriminalization, made up of five Democrats and five Republicans seeking to reform the federal criminal justice system.

Hakeem has been a difference-maker at the local level, working hard to secure federal assistance for communities devastated by Hurricane Sandy, protecting essential health care opportunities for Central Brooklyn residents and leading efforts to strengthen the relationship between the NYPD and communities of color. He has consistently spoken out on the need to balance effective law enforcement on the one hand and a healthy respect for civil liberties and equal protection under the law on the other. Consequently, Hakeem has joined his colleagues in urging the Justice Department to conduct investigations into the constitutionality of stop-and-frisk and ‘broken windows’ policing tactics in New York City and across the nation.

Before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, Hakeem served for six years in the New York State Assembly, where he championed many of the same civil liberty issues he continues to promote today. Prior to his career in public service, Hakeem practiced law at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, and served as litigation counsel for Viacom Inc. and CBS.

Hakeem received his bachelor’s degree at the State University of New York at Binghamton, earned a master’s degree in public policy from Georgetown University and graduated magna cum laude at the New York University School of Law, where he also 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.

Hakeem was born in Brooklyn, is a product of New York City’s public school system, and currently lives in Prospect Heights with his wife and two sons.