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Ritchie Torres, Kristine Reeves, Candace Valenzuela. Photos: Campaign websites
Ritchie Torres, Kristine Reeves, Candace Valenzuela. Photos: Campaign websites

Three Black Latinx candidates with historic bids for Congress

With one just hours away from their primary election, these candidates are looking to make history and diversify congress.

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Intersectional leadership is especially needed during this time, when Black and Latinx communities have united against police brutality, and suffered the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic

Historically, representation in Congress has not been in proportion to public demographics. That’s why some influential supporters, including newspapers, politicians, and caucuses are promoting candidates who could add much-needed perspectives. 

The Latinx community is diverse, and with issues currently impacting Black and Latinx lives, these politicians are aiming to challenge the norm.

BOLD PAC’s role in diversifying congress

The Committee for Hispanic Caucus Bold PAC is endorsing three Black Latinx candidates who have the power to make history in their congressional districts.

“Today, BOLD PAC is proud to stand with three incredible Black Latino congressional candidates: Candace Valenzuela in Texas’s 24th Congressional District, Ritchie Torres in New York’s 15th Congressional District, and Kristine Reeves in Washington’s 10th Congressional District," said Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif), chairman of CHC Bold PAC

“Their candidacies are historic. If elected, Candace and Kristine will be the first Afro-Latinas to serve in Congress, and Ritchie will be the first openly LGBTQ+ Black Latino elected to serve. These candidates represent a powerful new generation of leadership that will be a fresh and positive change in Congress and the Hispanic Caucus."

 

Ritchie Torres 

One of these candidates is Ritchie Torres, running for New York’s 15th Congressional District. 

Like Jamaal Bowman, Torres is down to the last hours before New York’s primary election.

A gay, Black Latino, Torres hopes to defeat Rubén Díaz Sr. in Tuesday’s election, a notorious homophobe who is also taking his shot at a seat in congress.

Endorsed by The New York Times, Torres could be the first gay Black person in either chamber of Congress, (unless candidate Mondaire Jones is also successful).

“At 25, against all odds, I became the youngest elected official in New York City, and the first openly LGBT elected official from the Bronx,” Torres’s campaign website reads. 

“I’ll fight for quality health care and housing, schools and jobs. I'll stand up for immigrants, seniors, and youth. I'll fight everyday to protect our neighborhoods from gun violence and make the Bronx a safe, decent, affordable place to live,” he said.

Kristine Reeves 

Reeves is running for Washington’s 10th Congressional District. If elected, she would be the first Democratic Latina to represent Washington state in Congress.

Reeves describes herself as, “not a typical congressional candidate.” 

She grew up in and out of foster care, was homeless for a time during high school, and is a first generation college student. She says she will bring her lived experience to Congress. 

Voting for Washington’s congressional primary is August 4. 

Candace Valenzuela 

Valenzuela is the first congressional candidate in 2020 to be endorsed by the Tri-Caucus: the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) and Congressional Asian American Pacific American Caucus. 

Valenzuela overcame great odds as a child, experiencing poverty and homelessness, to become the first in her family to go to college. If elected she would make history as the first Afro-Latina in Congress. 

“My congressman has been a politician since before I was homeless, sleeping in a kiddie pool outside a gas station. Now I’m running to unseat him,” Valenzuela tweeted.

Endorsed by Senator Kamala Harris, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and Julian Castro, Valenzuela is the only Latina challenger running in Texas for this cycle.

Texas’ 24th Congressional district primary is scheduled for July 14.

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