Rep. Ritchie Torres endorses Andrew Yang for NYC Mayor, will serve as campaign co-chair
Ritchie Torres formally endorses Yang, and highlights the needs of his district in the South Bronx.
Former Presidential candidate Andrew Yang formally launched his campaign for New York City mayor on the morning of Jan. 14 in Morningside Heights, where he first lived when he moved to NYC in 1996.
He stood alongside a familiar face.
Newly sworn-in Rep. Ritchie Torres from the South Bronx and former City Councilmember was spotted next to Yang during his announcement speech, with the new mayoral candidate revealing he was there as his campaign’s co-chair.
Torres also announced his formal endorsement of Yang’s campaign.
Yang introduced Torres as a “phenomenal young leader in Washington fighting for the people in his district in the Bronx that has been among the hardest hit this year,” emphasizing his “progressive and independent voice.”
“Good morning Yang Gang!” Rep. Torres began.
He was just at the Capitol the day before to present his argument in favor of impeaching President Donald Trump for “incitement of insurrection.” It was Torres’s first speech on the House floor.
He later voted with the rest of Congress to formally impeach the president for a second time, effectively making history.
“If someone had said to me a year ago I would become a member of Congress during an infectious disease outbreak and witness a violent insurrection against the U.S. Capitol and vote to impeach Donald Trump and then become the co-chair of Andrew Yang’s mayoral campaign, I would have said, that’s quite a bit of drama in less than two weeks,” Torres said.
Rep. @RitchieTorres has just announced he'll serve as co-chair of @AndrewYang's NYC mayoral campaign.
"I know those in the press are especially surprised to see me," said Torres, who just voted to impeach Trump yesterday. pic.twitter.com/JZGfa8ZUWK
— Ericka Conant (@ErickaConant) January 14, 2021
He also pointed out the current financial struggle of his city’s government, and of a New York State Government caught in a “fiscal death spiral.”
Torres continued, recalling Yang’s push for $2,000 stimulus checks — at one point the “singular voice” doing so.
“I represent the South Bronx, which has seen a catastrophic loss of income. And neighborhoods like West Farms, the unemployment rate could be as high as 25%,” Torres said.
According to his team, Yang intends to announce a localized version of his “Universal Basic Income” proposal, first announced during his presidential campaign.
He seeks to launch a proposal to give 500,000 New Yorkers living in poverty between $2,000 and $5,000 per year, though it’s unclear how exactly the funds will be generated.
According to POLITICO, his two-page plan indicated he would spend $1 billion each year from the roughly $90 billion city budget while relying on grants.
However, Yang has recently been criticized for being out of touch with the city he seeks to become mayor of, specifically regarding housing, leading many to question his status as a “New Yorker.”
In an interview with the New York Times about his bid, Yang said his family has "spent more time upstate" due to a lack of space at their New York City apartment. Yang said this at a time of severe housing insecurity, where only the wealthy few are able to afford a temporary exodus out of the city during the pandemic.
“I spent my time across New York City, where my kids are enrolled in school, upstate, so my kids could spend more time outside in the depths of the first wave, especially my son Christopher, who is autistic,” Yang said in a statement.
It appeared as if Torres was addressing Yang’s criticism in his endorsement speech.
“Now we all know that Andrew’s a true New Yorker, but I will admit he’s not a creature of the political establishment. And there are many political insiders who are threatened by that.” Torres said.
Yang has never run for office in New York, but his presidential bid showcased how quickly he was able to garner national attention and his effective fund-raising.
Along with Rep. Torres, Martin Luther King III has confirmed he will also serve as a co-chair of the campaign.