NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The City Council welcomed 21 new members at the swearing in ceremony Wednesday.

WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman sat down with the youngest member of the council, 25-year-old Ritchie Torres of the Bronx.

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Torres, a product of the projects in Throggs Neck, jokes he got to City Hall because most of the buildings in his district have no elevators.

“I was the youngest and most physically fit in the race,” he told Silverman.

But Torres’ election goes beyond that.

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“I am the first openly gay elected official in the Bronx,” said Torres. “It feels gratifying and I’ve been going through the process of coming out since high school. There’s no more definitive way of coming out than running for public office.”

“You cannot decide to run for public office lightly. You have to face the politics of personal destruction. I knew I was gonna face a greater scrutiny of my life than I’ve ever seen, but I was willing to pay the price,” he told Silverman.

Silverman will be sitting down with some of the new faces at City Hall in the coming weeks.

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