Lawrence interested in USPS post, toasts Jeffries as a consensus-builder among Dems

Kildee, Thanedar also say they’ll back Jeffries as minority leader

By: - November 18, 2022 9:57 am

Brenda Lawrence and Nancy Pelosi | Andrew Roth

Retiring U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Southfield) told the Advance on Thursday that she supports U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) as U.S. House minority leader and she’s interested in a U.S. Postal Service appointment. 

The news comes after U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the first woman in history to hold the gavel, announced Thursday she will step aside from leadership but remain in Congress. Republicans narrowly won control of the chamber in last week’s election.

On Thursday, Lawrence lauded Pelosi as “a brilliant mind and trailblazer who has done so much for all Americans. The 90+ women who walk the halls of Congress carry on her legacy as the first woman Speaker of the House. Thank you, Speaker Pelosi, for paving the way forward for generations to come.” She told the Advance that Pelosi was the GOAT [Greatest of All Time].

If elected by his colleagues, Jeffries would be the first African American to lead either major party in the U.S. House. Lawrence, who is second vice chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, noted the historic significance of an African American member leading the Democratic caucus next term.

House Democratic Caucus Chair Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) speaks at a news conference in the U.S. Capitol on June 14, 2022 in Washington, DC. | Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

“He is brilliant and he has built consensus in the caucus and helped to create diversity in committees. I think it will be great for our party to have him as our next leader,” said Lawrence. 

Lawrence will complete her fourth term in early January. Outgoing members can not vote in the caucus leadership election. Only members of the upcoming 118th Congress can cast a ballot. 

Democrats are scheduled to hold their leadership elections on Nov. 30, a few days after they return from the Thanksgiving week break. 

Earlier this week, Republicans chose Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and others as part of their leadership slate. However, he will still need to unite his caucus, including moderates and members of the House Freedom Caucus, to secure the speakership next year.

Republicans so far have won the minimum 218 seats needed to hold the majority with 211 for Democrats and the remaining six races not yet called by The Associated Press. 

Jeffries, 52, represents a portion of New York City, including parts of Brooklyn and Queens. He earned a bachelor’s in political science from Binghamton University and a degree from New York University School of Law. 

U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flint), the caucus’ chief deputy whip and strong ally of Pelosi, will back Jeffries, according to Mitch Rivard, his chief of staff. 

State Rep. Shri Thanedar of Detroit, who was elected to Michigan’s 13th Congressional District earlier this month, told the Advance that he will also vote for Jeffries.

“I have pledged my full support to Rep. Jeffries,” said Thanedar. 

Lawrence also said if President Joe Biden appoints her to the United States Postal Service Board of Governors she would be “honored” to serve. 

Board members are appointed by the president of the United States with the advice and consent of the Senate. Two members, William Zollars and Donald Moak, will have their terms expire on Dec. 8.

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, an appointee of former President Trump, has faced widespread criticism over mail delays and cutbacks.

Lawrence was a career USPS employee before launching a political career in Southfield. She was first elected mayor in 2001, the first African American to serve in that post. 

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Ken Coleman
Ken Coleman

Ken Coleman covers Southeast Michigan, economic justice and civil rights. He is a former Michigan Chronicle senior editor and served as the American Black Journal segment host on Detroit Public Television. He has written and published four books on black life in Detroit, including Soul on Air: Blacks Who Helped to Define Radio in Detroit and Forever Young: A Coleman Reader. His work has been cited by the Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, History Channel and CNN. Additionally, he was an essayist for the award-winning book, Detroit 1967: Origins, Impacts, Legacies. Ken has served as a spokesperson for the Michigan Democratic Party, Detroit Public Schools, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters and U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence. Previously to joining the Advance, he worked for the Detroit Federation of Teachers as a communications specialist. He is a Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit advisory board member.

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