Ritchie Torres, Herbert H. Lehman High School ‘06, is the Democratic City Councilman for District 15 in the Bronx where he grew up. Currently the youngest member of the New York City Council and a Deputy Leader of the City Council, he is the only Freshman Councilmember to hold a leadership position. He also oversees the New York City Housing Authority in his position as Chair of the Council’s Committee on Public Housing. While he works to improve his district in any way he can, Ritchie is most passionate about affordable and public housing, police reform, school integration and youth civic engagement.
Ritchie found his talent in politics when he was still a student at Lehman. After discovering moot court, a school mock court for students to debate through, he learned to truly understand and investigate both sides of an issue when he was assigned a segregationist position on a simulation of the case Brown v. Board of Ed; Ritchie admits that this remains one of his most transformative experiences as a young politician. Participating in moot court as a high school student also helped him explore intellectually and geographically– before joining, he never even went to Manhattan. “I will confess to you that moot court is far more rigorous than deliberations on the City Council.”
After following his interest in debate sparked by moot court, Ritchie remained involved in local politics. He was a fellow in the inaugural class of the Coro NY Exploring Leadership Program, and went on to become the Housing Director for Council Member Jimmy Vacca until deciding to run for City Council in 2013 at age 25.