MEET
Mondaire

Jones

MONDAIRE JONES HAS BEEN A LAWYER, NONPROFIT LEADER, AND ACTIVIST. NOW HE’S A PROGRESSIVE CHAMPION IN CONGRESS.

Mondaire Jones is the Congressman from New York’s 17th District, serving Westchester and Rockland Counties. Mondaire made history when he was sworn in on January 3, 2021 as the nation’s first openly gay, Black member of Congress.

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. Life wasn’t easy, but the Jones family managed. And Mondaire’s mother always encouraged him to dream big in spite of their circumstances.

Mondaire went on to earn his bachelor’s degree at Stanford University, work at the Department of Justice during the Obama Administration, and graduate 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. Prior to being elected to Congress, Mondaire was a litigator in the Westchester County Law Department. He currently resides in Westchester County.

Since his arrival in Congress, Mondaire has taken advantage of every opportunity to fight for his community in Washington. He was elected unanimously by his colleagues as Freshman Representative to House Democratic Leadership, and he was appointed a Deputy Whip of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and Co-Chair of the LGBTQ Equality Caucus. He serves on the House Judiciary, Education and Labor, and Ethics Committees, where he has established himself as a leader on issues of democracy reform, civil rights, child care, and climate.

Mondaire's Experience

Mondaire realized at a young age that, to improve his community, he should not wait on others to take action. Faced with the constant threat of defeat of the East Ramapo public school budget, while in high school, Mondaire revived the Spring Valley NAACP Youth Council and led that organization in registering and mobilizing voters. When he was 19, Mondaire was elected chair of a committee on the NAACP’s National Board of Directors. Mondaire took his activism to Stanford University, where as a student leader he championed progressive causes, from faculty and graduate student diversity to a living wage for dining hall and maintenance workers. When the Palo Alto Police Chief made public statements endorsing racial profiling, Mondaire organized his fellow students. Their efforts helped lead to the police chief’s resignation and reforms within the department.

After college, Mondaire served in the Obama Administration. In the Office of Legal Policy at the Department of Justice, Mondaire worked on judicial nominations for the White House, including that of future Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan. The slow pace of judicial confirmations, in those early years, showed him what can happen when Democrats in Congress allow Republicans to block progress instead of fighting tooth-and-nail for the American people. At DOJ, Mondaire also co-authored a report to Attorney General Eric Holder on reducing the recidivism of people leaving federal prisons and helping them rejoin society.
In order to win justice for vulnerable communities through litigation and public policy, Mondaire decided to become an attorney. While a student at Harvard Law School, Mondaire represented defendants who could not afford counsel in criminal proceedings. He saw up close how this country perpetuates a system of mass incarceration by over-arresting, over-charging, and over-prosecuting poor people and people of color. Following graduation, he worked at a law firm and was honored by the Legal Aid Society for his hundreds of hours of pro bono legal work. Namely, he investigated claims of discrimination under federal and local laws, and helped victims of mortgage modification fraud get compensated for what happened to them during the Financial Crisis. Mondaire worked at the law firm long enough to pay off most of his student loan debt, which liberated him to pursue public service full-time in his next job. Most recently, Mondaire was an attorney in Westchester County’s Law Department. There, he litigated Westchester County’s biggest cases and served as a legal advisor to the County Executive, the Board of Legislators, and the Human Rights Commission. His role included drafting and advising on legislation. Mondaire is the co-founder of the non-profit Rising Leaders, Inc., which teaches leadership skills to underserved middle-school students in three cities. In 2018, the organization received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Additionally, Mondaire serves on the board of Yonkers Partners in Education.

Why I'm Running

I’m running for Congress to fight for bold, progressive policies that will help everyday people and allow all children in New York’s 17th Congressional District to dream big like I did.