Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), the incoming House Democratic leader, won more votes than House Republican leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) in Tuesday’s first round of votes for Speaker. The second round of voting is currently underway.

Jeffries secured 212 votes in the first ballot, while McCarthy got 203. However, that doesn’t mean he’ll become Speaker. None of the nominees was able to reach the 218-vote threshold needed to secure a majority of votes. As a result, the election will move to a second ballot.

Jeffries, who is an advocate for affordable housing, criminal justice system reform, and equal access to high-quality education has been flanked by his wife and his children on his side throughout his political career. 

Hakeem Jeffries is married to Kennisandra Arciniegas-Jeffries.

Who is Kennisandra Arciniegas-Jeffries?

Kennisandra is a social worker with 1199 SEIU’s Benefit Fund. She tends to keep out of the limelight, although her husband’s career has thrust her into the spotlight.

Some supporters have called Hakeem and Kennisandra “the next Barack and Michelle Obama.” Nevertheless, she rarely posts public statuses on social media or makes public interviews.

The pair share two sons together: Jeremiah and Joshua.

In 2018, when visiting Beacon to talk to students, Hakeem Jeffries joked: “As aspiring politicians you understand that you always acknowledge your wife at the very beginning.” 

Jeffries once told CNN in an interview that he worries for his children’s safety growing up in a politically charged 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…,” he told Amanpour in 2014.

“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,” he added.