Two Black Lawmakers Make American History For Their Nominations As House Speaker

Two Black Lawmakers Make American History For Their Nominations As House Speaker

The House of Representatives is witnessing new history unfold as Black political figures step up to take charge in America.

While the House seeks a new leader, Insider reported that two Black lawmakers, Rep. Byron Donalds of Florida and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York, were nominated simultaneously for the position.

Donalds, who was first elected to a southwest Florida district in 2020, received 20 votes on three different ballots on Wednesday. The House Freedom Caucus member is one of five Black Republicans elected to serve in the 118th Congress.

This support champions Donald’s background and service in the Florida House of Representatives from 2016 to 2020. While serving in the Florida House, Donalds primarily focused on elder affairs, criminal justice reform, and ensuring that each child has access to a world-class education.

Republican Rep. Chip Roy of Texas nominated Donalds on the fourth ballot. He described the Florida candidate as a “dear friend, a solid conservative, but mostly importantly, a family man.”

“Now, here we are, and for the first time in history, there have been two Black Americans placed into the nomination for speaker of the House,” Roy added.

Jeffries, on the other hand, garnered 212 Democratic votes and, in doing so, became a top choice for majority of the chamber. His fellow Democrats nominated him to serve as speaker following his election as the first Black man to lead a major political party in Congress, according to CNN.

“I just look forward to the opportunity to do the most good for the greatest number of people possible for as long as I have the opportunity to do so and can operate at the highest level,” Jeffries previously told CNN.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Jeffries, who has a track record of promoting unity among Democrats, officially became House Democratic leader at the start of the 118th Congress.

After receiving his law degree from New York University School of Law, he was first elected to the New York State Assembly in 2006, serving in office from 2007 to 2012, and later stepped into his tenure track in the House.

The search for a new presiding officer is still underway, BLACK ENTERPRISE previously reported, after the House held three votes in a row on Tuesday and adjourned without selecting a speaker. No candidate has received the required 218 votes to assume the position.

Amid the chaos, Cheryl Johnson, the second person of color to serve as Clerk of the House, has stepped into her role as the presiding officer until the House resumes regular business.