Human Rights Campaign Endorses Ritchie Torres for Congress

by Lucas Acosta

Torres would become the first Afro-Latin American LGBTQ Member of Congress by defeating one of the most virulently anti-equality Democrats in a generation.

Today, the Human Rights Campaign announced the endorsement of New York City Council Member Ritchie Torres in his bid to represent New York’s Fifteenth Congressional district, located in the South Bronx.

Born and raised in the Throggs Neck Houses public housing development, Council Member Ritchie Torres grew up knowing the impact of federal disinvestment and neglectful politicians and set out to be something different. Elected in 2013 to the New York City Council, the first openly gay elected official from the Bronx, he chaired the Council’s Public Housing Committee which oversees the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), the nation’s largest provider of affordable housing and home to more than 500,000 low-income New Yorkers.  In this capacity, Torres worked with local and federal officials to secure $3 billion in FEMA federal aid, the largest FEMA federal grant in history, to NYCHA to make much-needed repairs to Hurricane Sandy-impacted developments and improve the lives of thousands of New Yorkers. Council Member Torres has been a champion for the LGBTQ community, enacting dozens of laws to improve city services and resources for LGBTQ people across New York City.

“Council Member Ritchie Torres has broken barriers before, and he can do it again,” said HRC President Alphonso David. “As the first LGBTQ elected official in the Bronx, Torres made history and set a new standard for what leadership looks like in the borough. Not only do we have the opportunity to make history in New York, but we also can keep Rev. Ruben Díaz, Sr.  out of Congress. Díaz is one of the most virulently anti-equality and anti-choice Democrats that New York has seen  in a generation, lacking  respect for even the basic humanity of LGBTQ people. Not only has he used his platform as an elected official to vote against us, he’s used his bully pulpit to dehumanize us. The Human Rights Campaign is proud to endorse Council Member Ritchie Torres and will do whatever it takes to elect him and defeat Rev. Díaz.”

“This primary election presents a stark choice between an LGBTQ, progressive-trailblazer and a homophobic minister who would be Donald Trump’s staunchest ally in Congress,” said Council Member Ritchie Torres. “The last thing the South Bronx needs is a Member of Congress who would support Republican priorities to discriminate against LGBTQ people and destroy the social safety net that millions of residents depend on. I will support federal non-discrimination laws and ensure that the most vulnerable Americans have a voice in Congress. I’m proud to receive the endorsement of HRC and look forward to a strong partnership that will push for greater protections for LGBTQ Americans.”

Rev. Ruben Diaz is one of the most virulently anti-LGBTQ Democrats in the nation. He has said he is “proud to be homophobic,” sued the state of New York over marriage equality, called gay men “sons of devils” and said New York had “no morals” after supporting transgender rights. In 1994, when the Gay Games were coming to NYC, Diaz claimed that it would increase the spread of AIDS. The last thing Díaz deserves -- after a long history of horrifically anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and votes -- is a promotion. 

In the 2018 midterms, HRC helped register more than 32,000 voters and recruited more than 4,200 volunteers, who worked over 8,500 shifts and clocked more than 30,000 volunteer hours. In the critical final four days of the campaign, HRC staff and volunteers in get-out-the-vote efforts alone knocked on more than 80,000 doors, and held 36,400 conversations with voters at their doors and by phone on behalf of our endorsed candidates. HRC's unprecedented grassroots mobilization worked to recruit volunteers, mobilize constituents, register voters and grow the organization's grassroots army in an all-out effort to pull the emergency brake on the hateful anti-LGBTQ agenda of the Trump-Pence administration and elect a Congress that would hold them accountable. In 2020, our engagement and mobilization efforts will only deepen.  HRC will have at least 45 full-time staff in seven priority states and an additional 20 staff focused on a second tier of states and districts.

 

 Paid for by Human Rights Campaign PAC (www.hrc.org) and authorized by Torres for Congress