House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries Visits Toledo

House Minority Leader addressing pastors at The Worship Center

By Fletcher Word
The Truth Editor

Congressman Hakeem Sekou Jeffries, the minority leader of the U.S. House of Representatives visited Toledo this Monday, along with his hostess, Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, to speak with local leaders about what Democrats in Congress and the Biden administration have done and will do to better the lives of Americans.

Jeffries has been the U.S. representative for New York’s 8th congressional district (Brooklyn) since 2013 and has served as House Minority Leader and leader of the House Democratic Caucus since January 2023.

Jeffries and Kaptur’s  first stop on Monday was to the Neighborhood Health Association’s Nexus Center where they joined NHA’s CEO Doni Miller, along with a variety of board members and community leaders for a discussion of the importance of quality health care in communities that have so often gone without.

“Access to high quality and affordable health care should not be a privilege, it should be a right,” said Jeffries during that discussion.

The NHA conversation focused on not only what local organizations are doing in the community to improve the lives of area residents but also how the federal government can make those tasks easier.

Jeffries, for example, opined that his and his colleagues’ next steps would be “to go back to Washington and make enlightened public policies … and to make sure we are lifting up the great American middle class.”

Part of the problem for Americans dealing with the health care system, particularly older Americans who might be on Medicare, for example, is trying to access health care while facing the bureaucratic complexities of the government.

Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, NHA CEO Doni Miller

“The system has gotten too big,” said Kaptur. “It’s important to simplify and streamline access to healthcare – across the board,” added Jeffries.

However, Jeffries was also able to stress some of the very positive accomplishments of the administration and Congress for Americans who have to deal with the high cost of drug prices. The Inflation Reduction Act, he noted, has been instrumental in capping drug prices, particularly insulin. Diabetics were universally facing an insulin price of $4000 per year prior to the enactment of the IRA, he said.

“Now it’s $35 per month, we wanted to cap insulin prices and make it affordable to every single person,” said. “And the best is yet to come.”

After the NHA discussion, Kaptur and Jeffries proceeded to The Worship Center where the pastor, Bishop Pat McKinstry, was hosting a conclave of local pastors who were enthusiastic about the Jeffries’ visit and also pleased with the possibility that this year’s general election could bring the Democratic Party back to the majority in the House of Representative and deliver the speaker’s gavel to Jeffries.

At The Worship Center, Jeffries and Kaptur addressed a wider range of successes that the administration and the previously Democratic-controlled Congress had achieved. Jeffries ticked off such legislative victories as the American Rescue Act which brought relief to so many Americans during the pandemic; the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act which focused on getting people back to work; the CHIPS Act which is meant to reverse the trend of jobs leaving the United States for other countries and the Inflation Reduction Act which, as he had noted previously, has brought down the cost of prescription drugs, among other objectives.

“The ‘d’ in Democrat stands for ‘deliver,’” he said to the delight of the gathered pastors.

Congressman Jeffries, Congresswoman Kaptur and pastors and community leaders at The Worship Center

Jeffries also spoke of the challenges of working in such a divisive atmosphere in Washington these days.

“We have some people who pray on Sunday at church and then come back to Washington, D.C. and prey on the American people during the rest of the week, “he observed while adding that he and his colleague, Congresswoman Kaptur, “are in Congress to make things better for the lives of the American people.”

Jeffries fielded a question about why the successes of the Biden administration and the previously Democratic-controlled Congress have not gained recognition amongst the American people.

His response was basically that currently Democrats are better at dealing with the minutiae of crafting legislation than they are at getting their messages across.

“Our challenge is that there is an abundance of riches in terms of accomplishments and getting people to understand them all,” he said. “We have to be a better job messaging, persuading and with the headlines.”

The only question Jeffries declined to answer during this session was when he was asked what year he intended to run for president.