NY elects two openly gay Black men to Congress

New York Democrats Mondaire Jones and Ritchie Torres have become the first openly gay Black men to be elected to Congress.

Jones, a 33-year-old lawyer, won a district in New York City's northern suburbs. He'll take over from Rep. Nita Lowey, who is retiring after more than three decades in Congress. Jones defeated Republican Maureen McArdle Schulman.

He ran with the backing of progressives including U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

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His victory, declared Wednesday by The Associated Press, comes on top of the election of another young, gay, Black Democrat on Tuesday. Ritchie Torres, a 32-year-old New York City Council member who identifies as Afro-Latino, won in a district in the Bronx.

He defeated Republican Patrick Delices in the race to succeed U.S. Rep. Jose Serrano, who is retiring. The congressional district Torres will represent, in the South Bronx, is one of the poorest in the nation.

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“It’s overwhelming,” Torres told The Associated Press shortly after his victory. “I never thought as a poor kid from the Bronx ... that I would embark on a journey that would take me from public housing in the Bronx to the House of Representatives.”

“It’s deeply gratifying to be part of a new generation of leadership that is every bit as diverse and dynamic as America itself,” Torres said.

Openly gay white people have served in Congress since the 1980s, as well as at least one Black congresswoman who chose not to speak publicly about her sexuality, the late U.S. Rep. Barbara Jordan, of Texas.

With the Associated Press