Jones, Torres sworn in as nation’s first openly gay Black congressmen

Mondaire Jones and Ritchie Torres were among the history-making congressional swearing-ins Sunday.

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Two brand-new New York congressmen — Rep. Mondaire Jones and Rep. Ritchie Torres — made history this weekend, becoming the first openly gay Black men to be sworn into the U.S. Congress.

“Today, with my sister by my side, I was sworn into Congress to represent the community that raised me from Section 8 housing all the way to the halls of Congress,” said Jones, 33, in a statement Sunday. “My heart is full of gratitude for the great people of Westchester and Rockland Counties, and I’m humbled that they have placed their trust in me. I can’t wait to get to work fighting for them and keeping their sacred trust.”

Two freshman New York congressmen — Rep. Mondaire Jones (left) and Rep. Ritchie Torres — made history this weekend, becoming the first openly gay Black men to be sworn into the U.S. Congress. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Jones has already been added to several leadership positions, including as the freshman representative to leadership. He will also serve as deputy whip of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and co-chair of the LGBTQ Equality Caucus. 

An attorney who formerly worked as a litigator in the Westchester County legal department, Jones will also serve on the House Judiciary Committee. Additionally, Jones is co-founder of the nonprofit Rising Leaders, Inc. and has previously served on the NAACP’s national board of directors and the board of the New York Civil Liberties Union.

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The House Judiciary Committee sends more substantive bills to the House floor each year than any other. 

In a previous statement reported by TheGrio, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said of the new lawmaker that “Congressman-elect Mondaire Jones is a force for progress in New York and across America, whose brilliant legal mind, grassroots organizing experience, and spirit of advocacy and action have already enriched our House Democratic majority. His leadership has been acknowledged by his election as freshman representative to leadership, where he will amplify, strengthen and unify the voices of our diverse, dynamic Democratic caucus.”

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Torres, 32, the Black and Latino former New York City councilman, was elected to Congress after former Bronx congressman Jose Serrano‘s retirement following a 30-year career in office. 

The youngest person elected to New York City Council recently tweeted his thanks for the outgoing congressman whom he is succeeding.

“Thank you, @RepJoseSerrano,”Torres tweeted, “for dedicating your life to serving the people of the Bronx. You have- without fail- set the gold standard of decency and integrity in elected office. From the Bronx River to Puerto Rico, the impact of your service will be forever felt.”

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Torres has been named to the House Financial Services Committee. The powerful committee oversees the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve.

The Bronx-born Congressman told The New York Daily News he looks forward to “bringing the Boogie Down to D.C.”

Also among the history-making Congressional swearing-ins were America’s first Korean American women, Reps. Marilyn Strickland, Young Kim and Michelle Steel, and the first Native American Republican woman, Rep. Yvette Herrell.

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