Ritchie Torres Sets Sights on an ‘Historic Race’

Council member Ritchie Torres at City Hall (Photo by Matt Tracy via Gay City News)

Six years after becoming the first openly gay official elected to office in the Bronx, City Council member Ritchie Torres has his eye on Congress. If elected to outgoing Rep. José Serrano’s seat, he would become the “first openly LGBTQ black or Latinx person to be elected to Congress and the lone LGBTQ member of the New York City congressional delegation,” writes reporter Matt Tracy.

“It’s an historic race,” Torres said during a May 7 interview with Gay City News. ”I’m black, I’m Latino, I’m LGBT. I’m a millennial. I’m a child of the Bronx. My values and beliefs are shaped by who I am and where I come from. It’s true of most people but it’s true of me especially.”

Although Torres, 31, has yet to formally declare his candidacy, he said multiple times during this interview that he is “running for Congress.” He outlined his priorities moving forward, reflected on his work in the City Council, and opened up about the looming congressional race that is already shaping up to consist of a crowded Democratic primary field. Assemblymember Michael Blake and homophobic Councilmember Ruben Diaz, Sr., have both announced bids for the seat, while Bronx State Senator Gustavo Rivera, among others, has admitted interest.

Torres cites his fight for affordable housing and ending poverty in making his bid for Congress.

“I’ve come to recognize that the policies in housing and health care are largely set at the federal level,” Torres said. “If you’re a progressive problem solver who is on a mission to fight poverty in New York City, the impact can only be at the federal level. That’s why I’m running for Congress.”

Go to Gay City News for the full interview, which includes Torres’ reflections on how running for public office as a gay man has changed since 2013 and what he has accomplished in the City Council when it comes to LGBTQ and other issues.

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