Joel Rivera

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Joel Rivera
Joel Rivera 2013.jpg
Rivera in 2013
Member of the New York City Council for the 15th District
In office
February 20, 2001 – December 31, 2013
Preceded byJose Rivera
Succeeded byRitchie Torres
Personal details
Born (1978-10-24) October 24, 1978 (age 40)
Political partyDemocratic
RelationsJose Rivera (father), Naomi Rivera (half-sister)
CommitteesHealth (Chair); Finance; Housing & Buildings; Land Use; Rules, Privileges & Elections; State & Federal Legislation; Zoning & Franchises

Joel Rivera (born October 24, 1978) is a former Majority Leader of the New York City Council. First elected to the Council in a special election in 2001 at 22 years of age,[1] Rivera became the youngest elected official in the city's history.[2] He continued to win re-election until reaching his legal term limit in 2013.


Early life and education[edit]

Rivera was born to Ivine Galarza and Jose Rivera, graduated from New York Military Academy, a private boarding school,[3] and went on to attend Iona College, Fordham University, and Baruch College.[4]


Rivera succeeded his father, Assemblyman Jose Rivera, as the New York City Councilmember for District 15 in 2001.[5] He became Majority Leader of the City Council the following year. As chair of the Health Committee, he helped to ban trans fat and mandate calorie labeling in New York City fast food restaurants,[6] and launched an Obesity Prevention Initiative, which funded the HealthCorps program in local schools.[7] Rivera is also the founder of BronxPad, a website dedicated to "Helping Home Buyers and Home Sellers Achieve their Real Estate Goals."

In September 2007, he was named one of City Hall's "40 under 40" for being a young influential member of New York City politics.[8]

Marriage and children[edit]

Rivera is currently engaged to Joyce Lee Hernandez Lopez with a wedding date set for 11-5-2016.[9]

Previous marriage: Rivera married Valerie Vazquez in July 2006.[10] The couple has a daughter, Sophia. They are no longer married but continue to co-parent their daughter Sophia. Valerie is remarried.


  1. ^ Hicks, Jonathan P. (2001-02-21). "Fordham Student Is Elected To Father's Old Council Seat". New York Times.
  2. ^ Fernandez, Manny (2006-09-24). "Pros and Cons of a Zoning Diet: Fighting Obesity by Limiting Fast-Food Restaurants". New York Times.
  3. ^ Paybarah, Azi (2006-12-18). "The Rivera Family". New York Observer.
  4. ^ "2009 NYC Voter Guide: Joel Rivera". NYC Campaign Finance Board.
  5. ^ Hicks, Jonathan P. (2005-03-09). "Name Recognition Is Easy When Names Are the Same". New York Times.
  6. ^ Rivera, Ray (2007-02-26). "City Council May Change Menu Rule on Calories". New York Times.
  7. ^ "6M Fat Fight" New York Post, June 6, 2007
  8. ^ Rising Stars: 40 Under 40, City Hall, September 17, 2007.
  9. ^ "Joyce and Joel".
  10. ^ "Valerie Vazquez and Joel Rivera". New York Times. 2006-07-16.
Political offices
Preceded by
Jose Rivera
New York City Council, 15th District
Succeeded by
Ritchie Torres