WASHINGTON, DC — Congressman Mondaire Jones (NY-17) sworn in as the First Openly Gay, Black Member of Congress, Sunday, January 3rd. Jones succeeds Congresswoman Nita Lowey, who has served as a U.S. Representative from New York since 1989. Lowey was the first woman to chair the House Appropriations Committee. Jones won in the crowded NY- 17 Congressional race.
“Today, with my sister by my side, I was sworn into Congress to represent the community that raised me from Section 8 housing all the way to the halls of Congress,” Jones shared with Black Westchester. “My heart is full of gratitude for the great people of Westchester and Rockland Counties, and I’m humbled that they have placed their trust in me. I can’t wait to get to work fighting for them and keeping their sacred trust.”
Jones made history today as the first openly gay, Black member of Congress. In the 117th Congress, Jones holds numerous leadership positions, including serving as Freshman Representative to Leadership, a Deputy Whip of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and Co-Chair of the LGBTQ Equality Caucus.
He also serves on the powerful House Judiciary Committee, of the 117th Congress. The second oldest standing committee in Congress, the House Judiciary Committee has jurisdiction over some of the most urgent issue areas facing our nation, including voting rights, the courts, antitrust, criminal law, LGBTQ+ rights, and immigration. The committee handles all proposed amendments to the Constitution, and sends the greatest number of substantive bills to the House floor each year. Jones will serve with two of his fellow freshman members.
Jones joins Ritchie Torres as the first two openly gay Congressmen. Torres who is Afro-Latino will be the first new representative of the 15th congressional district in the South Bronx in more than a generation, succeeding Congressman Jose Serrano who is retiring after 30 years in office.
About Mondaire: Mondaire Jones is the 33-year-old Congressman from New York’s 17th District, serving Westchester and Rockland Counties. A product of East Ramapo public schools, Mondaire was raised in Section 8 housing and on food stamps in the Village of Spring Valley by a single mother who worked multiple jobs to provide for their family. He later graduated from Stanford University, worked at the Department of Justice during the Obama Administration, and graduated from Harvard Law School. He is a co-founder of the nonprofit Rising Leaders, Inc. and has previously served on the NAACP’s National Board of Directors and on the board of the New York Civil Liberties Union. Most recently, Mondaire worked as a litigator in the Westchester County Law Department. In November, Mondaire was unanimously elected by his colleagues to be the Freshman Representative to Leadership, making him the youngest member of the Democratic House leadership team. In December, Jones was appointed a Deputy Whip of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and became a Co-Chair of the LGBTQ Equality Caucus. He serves on the House Judiciary Committee and is the first openly gay, Black member of Congress.