Meet Rep Hakeem Jeffries' family: Wife Kennisandra and their two kids

Eve Edwards December 1, 2022
Meet Rep Hakeem Jeffries' family: Wife Kennisandra and their two kids
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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As Hakeem Jeffries is named as Nancy Pelosi’s successor, we take a look at his family life at home in New York.

The Democrats have chosen New York caucus chair Hakeem Jeffries as the man to take over as Minority House Speaker. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, 82, and her second in command, Steny Hoyer, 83, are stepping away from their roles after helming the caucus for almost 20 years. This comes just two weeks on from Donald Trump’s erroneous claims that Nancy Pelosi had been “fired” as House Speaker.

As the Republicans seize control of the House after the November 8 midterms, Pelosi is stepping away from the caucus. Pelosi has stated she is not retiring but ‘withdrawing’, as she will not run next term.

Hakeem Jeffries has been named by the Democrats as the man to take over as the new Minority House Speaker. So, let’s get to know Jeffries better as he is appointed in this new role.

Hakeem Jeffries was born to a Brooklyn-based family

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Hakeem Jeffries, 52, is a born-and-raised New Yorker. The new Minority House Speaker was born on August 4, 1970 in Brooklyn to Laneda and Marland Jeffries.

Jeffries graduated from Midwood High School in 1988 before pursuing a degree at the prestigious Georgetown. Jeffries later earned a law degree from N.Y.U. and went on to work as a lawyer. He found a home at white-shoe law firm Paul, Weiss, and was even offered partner, before turning down the role to focus on politics.

The similar career trajectories of Jeffries and former POTUS Barack Obama has earned the new Minority House Speaker the nickname “Brooklyn’s Barack.” The connection between the two politicians run deeper as they share the same birthday – August 4. However, that is where the similarities stop, as Jeffries shook off the comparison to OZY and explained he had no intention of following Obama’s path to the White House.

Hakeem credits his family for his ‘public service spirit’

Hakeem Jeffries has credited his family and upbringing for shaping him into the politician we see today.

Speaking to OZY, Jeffries credits his mother, Laneda, a social worker, his father, Marland, a state substance-abuse counselor, for his “public service spirit.”

It comes as no surprise that Hakeem married someone with similar values, as his wife, Kennisandra, is also a social worker.

Who is Hakeem Jeffries’s wife?

The new Minority House Speaker is married to Kennisandra Arciniegas-Jeffries. She is a social worker with 1199 SEIU’s Benefit Fund.

Although Kennisandra prefers to keep out of the spotlight, she has supported husband Hakeem Jeffries every step of his political career. She often appears alongside Jeffries at events, including when he was sworn in alongside Nancy Pelosi as Chair of the House Democratic Caucus in January 2019.

Hakeem, Kennisandra, and their children live just minutes from his childhood home, in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn.

Photo credit should read ALEX EDELMAN/AFP via Getty Images

How many children do Hakeem and Kennisandra have?

Hakeem and Kennisandra Jeffries have two children together. They have two sons named Jeremiah and Joshua. Jeremiah was born in 2001, making him around 21 years old, Joshua is his junior born in 2004, meaning he is around 18.

Hakeem Jeffries has spoken about how fatherhood intersects with his politics in the past.

In 2014, Jeffries told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that he worries for his children’s safety growing up in today’s political climate. “I’ve got to worry every day about what can happen to him (his older son), not just from the robbers but from a bad apple on the police department,” Jeffries told Amanpour.

“The overwhelming majority of New York police officers are to be commended for the great work they’ve done… But there are bad apples on the police force, and when you unleash them without consequence, you see the type of tragedy that results.”

Hakeem Jeffries has spent years advocating for police reform while serving in the New York State Assembly.

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Eve Edwards is a staff writer for The Focus who has been with GRV Media since April 2019. Having gained a BA (Hons) in History from the University of Bristol, Eve joined GRV starting out as a writer for Reality Titbit before making her way over to HITC. With a passion for music, TV, and cultural news, Eve eventually found a home at The Focus. Eve spent 2021-2022 freelancing for GRV Media while she completed a Masters in Music Performance, and brings her wide array of interests to the company in her written work. In Eve's spare time you'll find her working her way through the day's Wordle, Heardle, and Quordle, or struggling to complete The Guardian's cryptic crossword.