On Thursday evening, August 7, 2014, New York Assemblyman Felix Ortiz attended a gathering in the Linden Heights Reception Hall to discuss his accomplishments and meet with Boro Park rabbinic, civic, and business leaders of the community.

Assemblyman Ortiz represents the 51st Assembly district since 1994, defeating a one-term incumbent. Once elected, Assemblyman Ortiz went to work for people of all ages who were in need. During his first week in office, he held a press conference to call attention to the unjust treatment of sweatshop workers and set out to address the numerous labor violations inherent the industry. As a result of his efforts on behalf of immigrants and other workers, the Speaker of the Assembly selected Assemblyman Ortiz to chair the Subcommittee on Sweatshops. As Chair, he continued the fight to hold the industry accountable for its horrendous labor violations and force it tocomply with state and federal labor laws and worker safety conditions. Withthe help of the State Attorney General, Assemblyman Ortiz was able to recover back wages previously denied by the factory owners. To this day, Assemblyman Ortiz continues to monitor labor practices,  wage guidelines, and safety conditions in the industry.

In 2000, Assemblyman Ortiz achieved passage of the nation’s first law to ban the use of hand-held cell phones while driving a motor vehicle. This law has saved the lives of hundreds of New Yorkers and has since been duplicated by other states. Assemblyman Ortiz continues to respond to requests for help from families of accident victims and legislators in other states that have not yet passed this law.

In 2001, Assemblyman Ortiz was appointed to serve as Chair of the Assembly Task Force on Food Farm and Nutrition Policy. He worked to provide farmers with economic relief in 2002 by passing a law requiring schools to purchase locally grown produce. In October 2003, Assemblyman Ortiz was presented with the Anne B. Gennings Award from the New York State School Food Services Association in recognition of his efforts on behalf of local farmers and school children from farming communities across the state.

That same year, Assemblyman Ortiz passed New York’s first Statewide Child Obesity Education Program law which ensures that nutritionally based education programs be a part of every classroom. In 2004, he passed a law to create five eating disorder centers across the state to help those who suffer from illnesses such as anorexia and bulimia. He continues the fight to pass laws mandating that fast food restaurants post the nutritional value of foods they serve to help consumers make more informed choices.

While the district that Assemblyman Ortiz represents only includes several blocks of the Boro Park Jewish Community, he prides himself in representing the interests of the Jewish constituency in Albany in the area of State and kosher supervision law; tuition tax credits; safe neighborhoods; and affordable housing. At the meeting, a group of Jewish community leaders had an extensive dialogue with Mr. Ortiz regarding all the elected officials that he has worked with closely in the past. They also discussed matters of importance to be addressed in the next legislative session.

Mr. Ortiz shared some photos of himself and his grandchildren visiting President Obama and expressed gratitude to the guests for the warm reception he received. He also assured the leaders and all present that he looks forward to a closer relationship with them in the future. The Assemblyman thanked the enthusiastic activists for making our community a better place to live in.

Assemblyman Ortiz serves as President of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators, Vice-President of COPA USA, Chair of the Labor andWorkforce Committee of the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL), and Executive Committee Board Member of the Council of State Governments (CSG), Ex-Officio Board Member of the NALEO. Assemblyman Ortiz is a member of the Assembly Standing Committees of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse; Corporations, Authorities and Commissions; Corrections; Economic Development, Job Creation, Commerce and Industry; Energy; Labor; and Banksand the Assembly Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force, and the Black & Puerto Rican Legislative CaucusHe is a 2002 Toll Fellow Graduate and in 2003 he was selected to be part ofthe Eleanor Roosevelt Fellowship Program. Assemblyman Ortiz continues to lead a distinguished career in public service. He is nationally and internationally recognized as an elected official who is not afraid to take on unpopular issues and forge solutions on behalf of the people he represents. His cutting edge legislation has made New York a leader in public health and safety issues and many of his bills are used as role models by other state legislative bodies. Ortiz is a recognized fighter for children, families and immigrants. Photo right to left: Rabbi Shlomo Braun; Assemblyman Felix Ortiz; Rabbi Gershon Tannenbaum and Chaim Pinkesz. The entire group in attendance was impressed and offered their support. Many of the individuals agreed to go door-to-door with Assemblyman Ortiz to campaign for his re-election. For more information please call 718-851-4596 ext. 25 or email rsbaleh@gmail.com

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