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Yusuf Hakeem

NASHVILLE — Freshman Rep. Yusuf Hakeem, D-Chattanooga, has been named House Democrats' deputy minority whip for the 111th General Assembly, leaders announced Wednesday.

"It is exceptional for a freshman lawmaker to come in and assume this kind of responsibility, and we have complete confidence in Rep. Hakeem to help us accomplish our goals," Caucus Chairman Mike Stewart said in a statement.

As deputy whip, Hakeem will help ensure party discipline in the House Democratic Caucus, assisting in rounding up colleagues for voting sessions and  encouraging them to stick to party policies.

Hakeem, who served 19 years on the Chattanooga City Council including a stint as chairman, said he was honored by the appointment and noted "I look forward to doing all I can to aid the Caucus."

Republicans firmly control the House with a 73-member super majority. Democrats have 26 members. Still, Democrats and GOP factions have sometimes made common cause on the chamber floor to seize the initiative such as student testing.

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