New York District 15 Elects Their First Gay Afro-Latino, Ritchie Torres, to Congress
With so much going on during election week, it's great to see that the LGBT community is still thriving. On Tuesday, Democrat Ritchie Torres was elected to represent New York's 15th Congressional District in the U.S House of Representatives.
Torres ran against Michael Blake, NY state assembly member, who had 18 % of votes and Mario Díaz- Balart with 14.4 %. Torres took home the win with more than 30% of the votes and received the support of Bold PAC, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus's (CHC) campaign arm, stated by Hill.com.
He then made history as the first openly gay Afro-Latino person elected to Congress and will assume office on January 3, 2021. He later expressed his gratitude on Twitter, "Tonight we made history."
"It is the honor of a lifetime to represent a borough filled with essential workers who risked lives so that New York City could live. My pledge to the district is simple: I Will Fight For You. The Bronx is my home, it is what made me who I am, and it's what I will fight for in congress."- Ritchie Torres
According to NBC News, the 32-year-old is the youngest member of the New York City Council who chose to advocate for better public housing and health programs for district 15. NY-15 is known as the poorest district in the country so 56 % of households are rent burdened (meaning more than 30 % of income goes to rent). Furthermore, over 27 % of Bronx residents live in poverty. The median household income is about $38,000 while the median household income in NYC as a whole is close to $60,000.
Bronx 2020 Data Progress
Ritchie Torres goal is not only to strengthen his hometown but to bring awareness to the LGBT community as well. He spoke with Advocate.com in October of this year to share his coming out story and prediction of his own election. Safe to say he knew all along that he would win.
" In 2013, I became the first openly LGBTQ elected official from the Bronx. But several years before then I was at the lowest point...I was struggling with a sexual identity crisis...And I feel no shame in admitting that I struggled with depression.. And I feel as a public official, I have a moral obligation to break the shame and stigma and silence that too often surrounds mental health."- Ritchie Torres
He then said that for him, "the triumph of an openly LGBTQ candidate over the leading homophobe in New York state politics is a powerful testament to how far we've come."
Watch Ritchie Torres Talk About His Historic Win