Political News

Ritchie Torres wins House race and will become first Black member of Congress who identifies as gay

Posted November 4, 2020 10:51 a.m. EST

— Ritchie Torres, a New York City Council member, won his US House race to represent the South Bronx, becoming the first black member of Congress who identifies as gay.

Torres, 32, overwhelmingly defeated Republican Patrick Delices in the district, one of the poorest and most Democratic in the country, after winning a 12-way Democratic primary in June.

"Tonight, we made history," he tweeted. "It is the honor of a lifetime to represent the essential borough, the Bronx."

In a recent interview, Torres portrayed the primary campaign between himself and a rival, Rev. Rubén Díaz Sr., as "essentially a struggle between good and evil." Díaz, a cowboy hat-wearing, 77-year-old, socially conservative City Council member with a history of homophobic remarks, has said that he is in favor of traditional family values and claims he has been attacked for espousing them.

Torres will succeed Democratic Rep. Jose Serrano, who is retiring after 30 years in Congress. Torres told CNN that his "highest priority" is "the affordability crisis" in housing, and would work to expand the child tax credit to alleviate child poverty.

He said if Democrats take the White House and Congress, they would have a "once in a century opportunity to govern as boldly in the 21st century as FDR did in the 20th century." Torres wants to "rebalance" the Supreme Court with additional justices and said if Puerto Rico votes in a referendum this November for statehood, then Congress "will have an obligation to act upon what the people voted for."

"That to me is self-determination," he said. "That is decolonization. That is democracy."

The Democrat said his victory was "deeply gratifying."

"I hope I can represent the possibility that a poor kid, a kid of color, a LGBTQ kid from a place like the Bronx, can overcome the odds and become a member of the United States Congress," he said.

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