Leadership Lounge with Todd Sears, Ritchie Torres & Mondaire Jones
August 14th @ 12:00 PM ET | 9:00 AM PT
Join us for a Leadership Lounge episode featuring two New York City politicians. Mondaire Jones is running for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives from New York’s 17th Congressional District, with Ritchie Torres running in the neighboring 15th District. These two leaders could be our nation’s first two out black congressmen. This interesting discussion will explore their experiences in and out of politics, how the pandemic has affected their career, what to expect in the coming months, and much more.
Ritchie Torres –
Ritchie Torres is a fighter from the Bronx who has spent his entire life working for the community he calls home. Like many people in the South Bronx, poverty and struggle have never been abstractions to him, and he governs from a place of lived experience.
Ritchie’s mother single-handedly raised him, his twin brother, and his sister in a public-housing project. She paid the bills working minimum-wage jobs, which in the 1990s paid $4.25 an hour. While Ritchie grew up with mold, lead, leaks, and no reliable heat or hot water in the winter, he watched the government spend over $100 million dollars to build a golf course across the street for Donald Trump.
Ritchie attended New York University, but dropped out his sophomore year, suffering from severe depression – the lowest point in his life. After leaving NYU, he became a Housing Organizer for former Council Member Jimmy Vacca and was inspired to run for office. In 2013, at the age of twenty-five, he became New York City’s youngest elected official and the first openly L.G.B.T.Q person elected to office in the Bronx.
At the City Council, Ritchie stood out, and during his seven years has tenaciously tackled problems big and small for the Bronx and New York City. He has passed over thirty pieces of legislation, including legislation protecting the City’s affordable housing stock and tackling the city’s opioid epidemic. He was also instrumental in passing landmark criminal justice reform legislation that changed how New York approaches low-level offenses. Most recently, he passed legislation protecting tenants from discrimination from landlords related to COVID-19. As the Chairman overseeing NYCHA, he held the first committee hearing ever in public housing, which led to a $3 billion-dollar FEMA investment, the largest in NYC history.
As the current Chair of the Oversight & Investigations Committee, he has led investigations into the heating outages and lead poisoning at NYCHA, the Taxi Medallion scandal, the City’s controversial Third-Party Transfer program, and Kushner Companies.
Ritchie currently lives in the South Bronx.
Mondaire Jones – Presumptive Democratic nominee for New York’s 17th Congressional District
Mondaire is the presumptive Democratic nominee for New York’s 17th Congressional District. As a progressive, he will fight for Medicare for All and a Green New Deal and has been endorsed by Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and AOC. He grew up in the district with a single mom who often had to rely on Section 8 housing and food stamps to get by. He made it to Stanford University, worked on judicial nominations and criminal justice reform at DOJ in the Obama Administration, attended Harvard Law School, and most recently worked at the Westchester County Law Department. When elected, he will be the first openly gay, black member of Congress in United States history.