Bronx residents elected the first openly gay Afro-Latino man to Congress on Tuesday night.
Councilman Ritchie Torres, who has represented the 15th City Council District for about six years, took the win for the 15th Congressional District in the South Bronx with more than 136,000 votes, replacing Congressman José Serrano.
Torres, 32, was only 25 when he became a councilman in NYC and has since been breaking barriers—he's been one of the few politicians to speak out about mental health, especially in the LGTBQ community—and is known for tackling legislation to improve the lives of those in NYCHA housing and working to improve relations between the NYPD and New Yorkers.
There are currently nine openly LGBTQ members of Congress—Rep. Mark Takano became the first openly gay person of color in Congress in 2012 and Rep. Sharice Davids is the first openly gay woman of color in Congress since 2018, according to Buzzfeed News.
In a statement, Annise Parker, the President of Victory Fund, said The Bronx showed up for the LGBTQ community.
"Most would have thought New York City’s first LGBTQ member of Congress would be from Chelsea or Greenwich Village or Hell’s Kitchen, but the Bronx beat them to it," she said in a statement to Them. "As our nation attempts to tackle systemic racism, police reform and healthcare disparities, Ritchie’s lived experience as an out LGBTQ Afro-Latinx man will bring an essential perspective to Capitol Hill."
On Tuesday night, Torres said a new era has begun for the South Bronx.
"It is the honor of a lifetime to represent a borough filled with essential workers who have risked their lives so that New York City could live," he said. "The Bronx is essential, and the vibrant, loving and talented people who live here have shown time and again their power, fortune and perseverance. The Bronx is the heartbeat of New York City."
He shed a tear on Tuesday night when talking about being able to represent The Bronx, its essential workers and its mothers:
It’s official. We won! It is the honor of a lifetime to be able to serve our community in Washington DC. The counting took longer than expected, but today the @BOENYC certified our victory & I want to say thank you.. pic.twitter.com/j2ygMbQXSA— Ritchie Torres (@RitchieTorres) August 4, 2020
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