Brooklyn is a political powerhouse, and not just in New York.
The U.S. Senate Democratic leader, Charles Schumer, lives in Park Slope and has a shot at becoming majority leader in 2021. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, a power broker in his Central Brooklyn district, is a potential heir to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Top prosecutors from Brooklyn – U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue, state Attorney General Letitia James and District Attorney Eric Gonzalez – regularly make national headlines. Two other local politicians – Borough President Eric Adams, who wants to be the city’s next mayor, and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, who might run for mayor as well one day – are on the rise. And that’s not even including New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, another Park Slope guy who’s mounting a long-shot bid for the White House.
In City & State’s Brooklyn Power 100, we identify all of the borough’s political movers and shakers – and how they stack up against each other.
#1 Hakeem Jeffries
Other than Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the politician who gained the most from Joseph Crowley’s astonishing loss last year was Rep. Hakeem Jeffries. The Brooklyn congressman slipped into Crowley’s role as House Democratic Caucus chairman following a narrow victory. Now firmly in the House leadership, Jeffries is one of the few members who could succeed Speaker Nancy Pelosi when she retires. He has displayed impressive communication skills, methodically questioning special counsel Robert Mueller, calling President Donald Trump a “cancer on the presidency,” and, most consequentially, keeping House Democrats on message while winning a majority in 2018.
Jeffries is now contending with progressives in his own party, with Ocasio-Cortez reportedly vowing to recruit a candidate to primary him and both camps sniping over social media this summer. Pelosi intervened and the infighting has quieted down, but party divisions are being laid bare now that a majority of House Democrats support impeachment. That will be the toughest decision for many members, and it will be up to Jeffries to keep a divided caucus together.
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