Since President Barack Obama’s historical road to the White House, the media has been clamoring to predict the next young Black upstart politician to follow in those mighty footsteps. In Brooklyn, some are comparing New York Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries (pictured) with the former Chicago senator, saying that they share more than just charming good looks, a birthday, and early political stumbles.
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The Washington Post profiled Jeffries and snagged a quote from former mayor Ed Koch that served as a glowing endorsement for the young politician. “They’re both African American, they’re both strikingly handsome, and they’re both highly intelligent,” said Koch. “Both of them have wonderful smiles.”
Watch Jeffries opening his current campaign here:
Jeffries, like Obama, began his career as a lawyer with the Manhattan firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. He’s rubbed elbows and shared space with politicians far from his current base — at one time rooming with former Washington mayor Adrian Fenty while at Georgetown University. After losing to former assemblyman Roger Green twice in 2000 and 2002, he finally won and is now in his third-term representing New York’s 57th district.
Jeffries is currently looking to replace retiring U.S. Representative Ed Town for his seat. Although he’s lost major bids before, many feel that Jeffries is a shoe-in to replace Towns this year. Jeffries is challenged by outspoken city councilman Charles Barron, who is relying on his experience and Black nationalist stances to vanquish his younger foe.
With all of the brouhaha, Jeffries is wisely reluctant to compare himself to Obama, “Other than the fact that we were both born on August 4, it’s not clear to me that there’s much of a professional resemblance,” said Jeffries.
Either way, Jeffries is a politician to watch.