Joel Rivera was born to Ivine Galarza and Jose Rivera, graduated from New York Military Academy, a private boarding school, and went on to attend Iona College, Fordham University, and Baruch College.
First elected to the Council in a special election in 2001 at 22 years of age, Rivera became the youngest elected official in the city"s history. Early life and education Rivera succeeded his father, Assemblyman Jose Rivera, as the New York City Councilmember for District 15 in 2001. He became Majority Leader of the City Council the following year.
As chair of the Health Committee, he helped to ban transport fat and mandate calorie labeling in New York City fast food restaurants, and launched an Obesity Prevention Initiative, which funded the HealthCorps program in local schools.
Active People's Convention for Housing, 'Not in My Neighborhood You Don't' Anti-drug Campaign. Member of Bronx Young Democrats, Friends of Crotona Park.
Married Valerie Vazquez, July 2006. 1 child Sophia.