The Human Rights Campaign has endorsed Mondaire Jones, who would become the first openly gay Black member of Congress if elected, in his bid for New York’s 17th Congressional District.
Jones is one of eight candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for the seat currently held by U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey, who is retiring after 16 terms in Congress. The winner of the primary will be significantly favored in the general election, as the district, which covers parts of Westchester and Rockland counties, just north of New York City, generally leans seven points more Democratic than the nation as a whole.
Born and raised in the district, in Spring Valley, N.Y., Jones previously served as a chair of a committee on the NAACP National Board of Directors as a teenager. A lawyer by trade, Jones worked for the U.S. Department of Justice under the Obama administration, and for the law department of Westchester County.
Recent polling shows Jones in a four-way race with several other frontrunners, notably David Carlucci, a state senator who was the leader of the Independent Democratic Conference, a group of Democratic lawmakers who caucused with Republicans to swing control of the State Senate to the GOP, frustrating Democratic hopes of passing progressive legislation for several years.
Jones has also been endorsed by the campaign arm of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, as well as by the LGBTQ Victory Fund.
“Mondaire Jones has used his life to make our nation a more equal and just place. Today, we’re proud to endorse him to bring his voice to the halls of Congress,” Alphonso David, the president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement. “While this week marked a historic Supreme Court win for LGBTQ people and our rights, we must pass the Equality Act to ensure that LGBTQ people have full, federal equality. Jones will be a crucial member of the pro-equality majority to help ensure that every LGBTQ worker, child, parent and person has an equal opportunity to succeed and live their lives to the fullest.”
Jones thanked HRC for its endorsement, calling it “deeply personal” to him.
“I’ve been running this campaign unapologetically proud of who I am from the start and I’m so honored to be supported by the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBTQ advocacy group that fights tirelessly for the basic right of equality,” Jones said in a statement. “After the Supreme Court’s recent decision to protect LGBTQ workers from discrimination, this endorsement could not have come at a better time. This was definitely a win, but the fight for LGBTQ equality is far from over. I hope to take office as the first openly gay, black member of Congress and can’t wait to join HRC in this fight.”
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