Things to know about Hakeem Jeffries, Katherine Clark, Nancy Pelosi’s potential successors as Democratic leaders

The Speaker will resign in the new Congress. — Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that she would not seek re-election as House Democrat leader early in the next Congress if her compatriot Kevin McCarthy succeeds as speaker and Republicans take the majority.

“For me, the hour has come for a new generation to lead the Democratic Group, which I respect so much, and I am grateful that so many are ready and willing to take on this great responsibility,” she said in a speech from the A house .

The other two Democratic Group leaders, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, are also stepping down from their roles as the party’s leadership elections are scheduled for November 30.

RELATED: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she won’t run for leadership in next Congress

Pelosi has chaired the conference for almost 20 years and was at times the highest-ranking woman in the federal government as a speaker. She said in 2018 that she would serve only two more two-year terms as Speaker, a post she previously held from 2007 to 2011.

Hoyer and Clyburn have also each been at the top for more than a decade. Both said Thursday they would endorse New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, who chairs the House Democratic Caucus, as the next leader. (Clyburn has said he will try to remain on the leadership team in a different role.)

Along with Jeffries, two other lawmakers have emerged as likely candidates to head the Democratic leadership team in the House of Representatives: Massachusetts congressman Katherine Clark is expected to be the minority whip, and California congressman Pete Aguilar is expected to lead the group.

Here’s what you should know about each of them.

Hakeem Jeffries

Jeffries, first elected in 2012, has long been recognized as Pelosi’s heir to the throne, rising through the ranks to earn a seat at the helm of the party’s House of Representatives.

In a statement after Pelosi’s speech on Thursday, he called her “the most successful” speaker in the country’s history, but did not allude to his own plans. “She was the steady hand on the gavel during some of the most turbulent times the nation has ever faced,” he said.

Jeffries, a 52-year-old descendant of enslaved people, could be a potential history maker himself if Democrats retake the House in future cycles: he would be the first black speaker.

Jeffries has a reputation as a capable operator within the conference with strong media skills to deliver a Democratic message to the public (and a penchant for referencing Biggie Smalls in speeches on the floor).

However, he could face opposition from the most vocal progressives in the House, who labeled him a centrist.

“I am a black progressive Democrat striving to address racial, social and economic injustices with the urgent urgency of the present. This has been my career, this has been my journey, and it will continue to be so for however long I have an opportunity to serve. There will never be a moment when I bend the knee to hard left democratic socialism,” he told The Atlantic last year.

Catherine Clark

Clark, who currently serves as deputy spokesman, would also represent a generational shift at 59.

Besides Pelosi, she is currently the only woman in the Democrat leadership in the House of Representatives and has developed ties with the conference freshman.

With Pelosi’s departure, Clark’s rise to the whip position — where she would be responsible for collecting unified Democrat votes — would ensure that a woman would hold a leadership position, which Clark said is important to her.

“I think there’s something about women’s leadership that builds on listening, building consensus, listening not only to the people – our constituents – but also to my peers who come from different districts, have different concerns and different pressures than me,” Clark told Axios last year.

Peter Aguilar

At 43, Aguilar would be the youngest member of the expected Democratic triumvirate. As the current vice chairman of the faction, he is also the senior Hispanic member of Congress.

Aguilar was heavily involved in the immigration negotiations on Capitol Hill and saw his profile rise as a member of the special committee investigating last year’s riot.

After winning re-election to his House seat last week, Aguilar said he intended to campaign against the Republican legislative agenda and sought to portray the GOP as anti-social spending and anti-labour.

“As we wait for all the votes to be counted, I am deeply concerned by Republican plans to exacerbate inflation through cuts to Social Security and Medicare, and to help China by passing tax breaks for wealthy companies that ship jobs overseas ‘ Aguilar said in a statement. “Congress Democrats must stand up to give working families more breathing room and stand ready to resist Republican-led efforts to make it easier for oil companies to gouge consumers at the pump.”

Copyright © 2022 ABC News Internet Ventures. Things to know about Hakeem Jeffries, Katherine Clark, Nancy Pelosi’s potential successors as Democratic leaders

Laura Coffey

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