Torres lives with depression, for which he has been hospitalized in the past. He also is a COVID-19 survivor. He also was hospitalized for asthma as a child.
New York City Council Member (15th district), 2014-2021
2020 ELECTION CONTEXT
Torres’ most notable challenger in the Democratic primary was Rubén Díaz, Sr., a fellow City Council member who Torres described as “temperamentally and ideologically indistinguishable” from Donald Trump due to his history of anti-LGBTQ comments.
José Serrano (D), retired
MOST RECENT PROFESSION
New York City Council Member (15th district)
Torres began his career working as an intern in the NY Mayor and Attorney General offices. He also worked as the housing director for council member James Vacca, until he won his first election. Torres first ran and won his seat on the New York City Council in 2013, when the incumbent choose not to seek re-election. While a City Council Member, Torres chaired both the Committee on Public Housing as well as the Oversight and Investigations Committee.
On The Issues
In March 2020, Torres tested positive for COVID-19. Torres supports additional COVID-19 relief funding. He said, "COVID-19 has held up a mirror to the deeper inequalities of American life," and he intends to work to solve problems which have been exposed during the pandemic, including housing and internet access. He has also spoken about the dangerous mental health impacts of COVID.
Torres supports Medicare for All.
In 2014, Torres, along with four other City Council members, sent a letter to Mayor de Blasio and New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton charging that, "NYPD continues to unfairly target young minority men for low-level marijuana arrests." Torres stated that, "The question is: Should possessing a minor amount of marijuana be an arrestable offense? The answer is no because it does more harm than good. The focus should really be on more serious crimes."
MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTION
Torres has lived with mental health issues, specifically depression, for which he has been previously hospitalized and takes antidepressants. He talks openly about thoughts of suicide in the past. Depression led him to stop pursuing an undergraduate degree at NYU. As a City Council member, Torres has worked to expand resources for mental health care, especially for the LGBTQ community, leading to conflicts with Mayor de Blasio.
As a City Council member, Torres sponsored a bill to provide training to homeless shelter staff to deliver Narcan and would require one staff member with training to be on duty. In addition, Torres has sponsored legislation that would provide Narcan training to the general public. Torres lost his best friend to an opioid overdose.
As a member of Congress, Torres intends to work to lower the cost of prescription drugs. Part of his plan in Congress is to "force drug companies to lower prescription drug costs."
VETERANS HEALTH CARE
Torres is pro-choice. He has been endorsed by NARAL Pro-Choice America as well as the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.
OTHER HEALTH CARE ISSUES
DID YOU KNOW?
With his election to the City Council, Torres became the youngest elected official in New York City and the first openly LGBTQ elected official from the Bronx. Along with Mondaire Jones, Torres is one of the first two gay Black men to serve in Congress.