Rep. Hakeem Jeffries is a rising star in the Democratic Party and the likely front-runner to be the next House leader. He’s also quite the policy wonk, as Felicia and Michael learn in this episode.
What drives the chair of the House Democratic Caucus, and what’s his vision for the next generation of leadership?
Rep. Jeffries, who grew up in a union family in Crown Heights, traces his political journey back to the 1992 Rodney King trial. “There was a shock at the injustice of an acquittal. And I remember saying to myself that…[I want] to fight for the principles of equal protection under the law, liberty, and justice for all in the purest possible way.”
Three decades later—on the heels of what he calls “one of the most productive legislative sessions in the history of the country”—Rep. Jeffries discusses what implementation of clean energy investments will require, why solving the affordable housing crisis is one of his top priorities, and how progressives can better communicate their accomplishments and goals.
“We're going to have to do a better job moving forward, of recognizing that there's a distinction between governing and messaging,” he says. “You govern in fine print. You message, you persuade, you communicate in headlines.”
Rep. Jeffries also talks about the historic role of the Congressional Black Caucus, and what being middle-class actually means in today's economy.
Presented by the Roosevelt Institute, The New Republic, and PRX. Generous funding for this podcast was provided by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and Omidyar Network. Views expressed in this podcast do not necessarily reflect the opinions and beliefs of its funders.
You can find transcripts and related resources for every episode at howtosaveacountry.org.