Democrat Hakeem Jeffries was easily elected in New York's 8th District, which includes the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. Jeffries will replace Rep. Edolphus Towns, D-N.Y., who is retiring after 30 years in Congress. Jeffries is already garnering plenty of hype as a rising star in the Democratic Party. During his five-plus years in the New York State Assembly, observers said he was as equally comfortable in front of a Brooklyn church congregation as he was with New York academics. He's sometimes called "Brooklyn's Barack."
Jeffries was born and raised in Brooklyn and enrolled at Binghamton University in 1989. He pledged Kappa Alpha Psi, the predominantly African-American fraternity, where he received the nickname "Kool Ha," for his measured and reverential speech. "I'd like to think "¦ I've been able to remain relatively calm, cool and collected under pressure," Jeffries said in an interview. Each year, Jeffries made the short trip to Syracuse University with his fraternity brothers to perform at Greek Freak, a step show with mostly African-American dance groups.
In his senior year of college, a widely covered event in the news solidified his commitment to public service: the not-guilty verdict for the two police officers accused in the beating of Los Angeles motorist Rodney King.