While President Donald Trump continues without recognizing the victory of his Democratic opponent Joe Biden in the race for the White House, causing a climate of instability and crisis at the national level, other candidates who emerged triumphant in the last elections of November 3 have already begun their preparation processes to assume their new positions in January, including the new members of the 117th Congress, who this Thursday attended their first orientation session in Washington.
And among the new congressmen are two New Yorkers who are making history by becoming the first openly gay African-Americans to enter Congress, Richie Torres who won a position to represent the District 15, Y Mondaire Jones, who will be a congressman for the District 17.
On his Twitter account, Torres posted this Thursday: “I am attending the orientation for new members of the 117th Congress. And it feels like the first day of school. I’m on!”
I am attending the 117th Congress New Member Orientation. It feels like the first day of school. I am fired up! pic.twitter.com/hRBNLnezIY
— Ritchie Torres (@RitchieTorres) November 12, 2020
These orientation sessions help new congressmen prepare to face the challenges that lie ahead in their new positions, know how all the branches that make up the Legislative power and organize their offices in the administrative buildings of the Capitol, as well as start hiring their staff.
The second orientation session will be held at the end of November, just weeks before the swearing-in of the new congressmen.
Of the 27 members of Congress what does he have New York State, between the new and those who were re-elected, Torres and Jones, will be one of the most outstanding among all 435 congressmen that make up the House of Representatives, because they are two openly gay African-Americans, something that will be historic in a Congress dominated primarily by an elite of white members.
Torres, 32, who identifies as African-American and Latino since he is half Puerto Rican, will replace veteran Puerto Rican Congressman José Serrano, who has been representing the South Bronx District 15 since 1990, with a large percentage of the Latino and black population, and with an average income of $ 31,000 a year.
“It is the honor of a lifetime to represent a city full of essential workers who have risked their lives so that New York City could live,” Torres said in a statement after his victory. “The Bronx is my home, it’s what made me who I am, and it’s what I will fight for in Congress.”
And while Torres, who grew up in NYCHA public housing will represent one of the poorest districts in the entire state, Jones’ reality is different, since the average salary of the residents of his district, who are mostly white and which is made up of the counties of Rockland y Westchester, It is $108,000.
“I am humbled by the trust Westchester and Rockland voters 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 man who grew up in homes in Section 8 and with food stamps to CongressJones, 33, tweeted after learning of his victory.
Something that unites the two congressmen is that Torres’ story of competing for a seat in the New York City Council being an openly gay candidate, the one he won in 2013 becoming the youngest councilman at the time, was what inspired Jones to compete for Westchester as an openly gay African American as well.
And this triumph of both will give a voice and representation to a sector of the population, gay African Americans, that had been marginalized for decades. In total, in the next 117 Congress there will be 11 members of the LGBT community, a historical number according to the LGBTQ Victory Fund.
They make history:
- 88% votes got Richie Torres.
- 54.29% votes took Mondaire Jones.
Max Rose awards the victory to Nicole Malliotakis
And another New Yorker who will debut in Congress in January will be Republican Nicole Malliotakis, who will be officially the congresswoman for District 11 -which includes southern Brooklyn and Staten Island-, after this Thursday the Democrat who held that position, Max Rose conceded defeat, after more than a week after the November 3 elections.
Malliotakis had already declared victory the same night of Election Day, but Rose did not acknowledge her victory pending the counting of the thousands of absentee votes that had been mailed. That will be the only congressional district in New York City to be represented by a Republican.
“I have called to congratulate Congresswoman-elect Malliotakis on her victory and to grant the race,” Rose said in a statement, adding, “Representing this district has been the honor of my life.”
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