Story at a glance
- Mondaire Jones, a 33-year-old lawyer, won New York’s 17th congressional district.
- New York City Council member Ritchie Torres, who identifies as Afro-Latino, won in New York’s 15th congressional district in the Bronx.
- Both are the first openly gay Black men to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Two New York Democrats are the first openly gay Black men to be elected to the United States Congress after an election night that brought many historic firsts.
Mondaire Jones, a 33-year-old lawyer, defeated Republican Maureen McArdle Schulman to represent New York’s 17th congressional district, according to The Associated Press (AP).
Jones, who ran with the backing of progressives including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), will succeed Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) who is retiring after serving in the House for three decades.
“I am humbled by the trust voters in Westchester and Rockland have placed in me, and grateful for the opportunity to serve the community that raised me — the community that just sent an openly gay, Black guy who grew up in Section 8 housing and on food stamps to Congress,” Jones said Wednesday after his victory was declared by AP.
Jones’s historic win follows the election of another gay Black man on Tuesday. New York City Council member Ritchie Torres, who identifies as Afro-Latino, won in New York’s 15th congressional district in the Bronx.
“Tonight we made history,” Torres tweeted Tuesday night.
“It is the honor of a lifetime to represent a borough filled with essential workers who risked their lives so that New York City could live. My pledge to the district is simple: I will fight for you,” Torres said.
Openly gay white lawmakers have served in Congress since the 1980s, as well as at least one Black congresswoman who did not speak openly about her sexuality, according to AP.
The milestone comes as the 2020 election saw many firsts for diversity across the country. New Mexico became the first state to elect all women of color to the House, while Delaware elected the first openly transgender state senator and Missouri elected its first Black congresswoman.
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