Ritchie Torres, the representative for the Bronx, has devoted his entire life to advocating for the people who live in the district that he represents. He, like many others in the South Bronx, has direct experience with poverty and struggle, and it is from this position that he exercises leadership in the community.
In the public housing complex where they all lived together, Ritchie, his twin brother, and his sister were raised by their single mother. She was able to make it through the 1990s by working minimum-wage jobs, which paid $4.25 an hour back then and were required to cover her living expenses. When Ritchie was a child, he watched as the government spent more than one hundred million dollars building a golf course directly across the street for Donald Trump, despite the fact that his own home was plagued with mold, lead, leaks, and inconsistent heat and hot water during the colder months. In 2013, at the tender age of 25, Ritchie made history when he was elected as the first openly L.G.B.T.Q. person in the Bronx. He was also the youngest elected official in all of New York City at the time of her election.
During the seven years that Ritchie served as a representative in the New York City Council, where he doggedly took on issues both large and small that affected his Bronx neighborhood and the city as a whole, Ritchie was an outstanding representative. Over the course of his term, he was successful in passing over forty pieces of legislation, some of which included measures to combat the opioid epidemic plaguing the city and to preserve the city’s stock of affordable housing. As Chairman of NYCHA, he oversaw the three billion dollar FEMA investment that was the largest in the history of New York City. Additionally, he was in charge of overseeing the very first committee hearing that was ever held in public housing. In his role as chair of the Oversight and Investigations Committee, Ritchie has presided over investigations into a number of contentious topics, including the heating issues and lead poisoning that have plagued NYCHA, the scandal surrounding the theft of taxi medallions, the contentious Third-Party Transfer program, and Kushner Companies.
Torres, who has stated his “intent to advance politically,” has been brought up as a potential candidate for the position of mayor of New York City in the near future. He has stated that one of his goals is to “become a national champion for the urban poor.”
In March of this year, Torres made the decision to run against Representative José E. Serrano and announced his candidacy. Following the revelation that Serrano would be retiring, Torres’s name began to circulate as a prospective candidate for the position. In July of 2019, Torres announced that he would be running for the seat representing New York’s 15th Congressional District. In his declaration, he admitted that he has been going through a depressive episode for quite some time. “his legislative passions of overhauling public housing and focusing on the issues of concentrated poverty,” Torres said, explaining why he was running for office. “his legislative passions of overhauling public housing and focusing on the issues of concentrated poverty.” The 15th Congressional District in California has the lowest median household income of any other district in the United States. None of the other districts come close. Torres believes that “if you are on a mission to fight racially concentrated poverty,” then you need a national policymaker. Because he believes that doing so will both lessen the amount of carbon emissions produced and make housing more easily accessible, he campaigns for the removal of restrictions on land use that apply to apartment buildings and for the expansion of social housing programs across the country. The fact that Torres accepted monetary donations from members of the real estate industry drew criticism.
The primary election for the Democrats took place on June 23. On July 22, despite the fact that the official results of the primary election were not yet known, Torres declared victory. It was widely anticipated that he would win the general election and join Mondaire Jones in the 17th district as the first openly gay black members of Congress in the history of the United States of America. This was due to the fact that the district in which he was running is considered to be one of the most reliably Democratic in the country. On August 4, the local election board gave Torres the victory in the primary election and gave him the official title of winner. This virtually ensured that he would be elected to represent this heavily Democratic district in Congress, which has a Latino population that is predominantly Latino. Leo Isacson, a member of the American Labor Party, served as the representative for the 15th District for eleven months beginning in February 1948 and ending in January 1949. Prior to the creation of the 15th District in 1927 and all of its predecessors, the 15th District has been controlled by Democrats. Since 1971, members of Congress of Latino descent have occupied this seat.
Torres was victorious in the general election held in November. On January 3, 2021, he took the oath of office as president of the country. He is the first openly gay Afro-Latino American to serve in Congress, and he just took his oath of office.
On August 6, 2021, Representative Torres introduced H.R. 4980 in order to “ensure that any individual traveling on a flight that departs from or arrives to an airport inside the United States or a territory of the United States is fully vaccinated against COVID-19.” This was done in order to “ensure that any individual traveling on a flight that departs from or arrives to an airport inside the United States or a territory of the United States is fully vaccinated against CO
The South Bronx is Ritchie’s current home, and he serves as the representative for NY-15 from that district. In addition to serving on the Committee for Financial Services, he holds the position of Vice Chair of the Committee for Homeland Security.