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Name:  Felix W. Ortiz Jr.
Office Sought: New York State Assembly District 51
Party Affiliation(s): Democrat
Age: 60
Education: Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration in 1983 from Boricua College and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from New York University in 1986.
Occupation/Employer: Incumbent/NYS Assembly
Previous Offices, Campaigns and Community/Civic Involvement:

I have held office in the Assembly since 1994. I served in the United States Army from 1986 to 1988.

Website:  https://www.felixortiz2020.com/
Twitter:  https://Twitter.com/FelixWOrtiz
Facebook:   https://www.Facebook.com/FelixWOrtiz

 

 

CANDIDATE QUESTIONS

Please state whether you support or oppose the following reform measures. If you wish to elaborate on your answers, you may do so in the provided space at the bottom of this page.

 

Ethics

  1. Replace the Joint Commission on Public Ethics and the Legislative Ethics Commission with an effective and independent enforcement body (S594A/A1282A).
    Support
  1. Limit outside compensation earned by state legislators and statewide officials to 25% of their salaries and eliminate stipends.
    Support

 

Elections and Voting

  1. Do you support or oppose the following changes to the state’s current registration and voting system?
    1. No-excuse absentee voting (second passage of constitutional amendment)
      Support
    2. Election Day voter registration (second passage of constitutional amendment)
      Support
    3. Re-enfranchisement of people on parole automatically through legislation, without requiring a Certificate of Good Conduct or Relief
      Support
    4. Automatic voter registration, unless the potential voter opts out
      Support
    5. Mandating poll sites on college campuses
      Support
  1. Reform the special election process, utilizing a nonpartisan special election for state legislative seats and eliminate delays in filling vacancies.
    Support
  1. Reduce the vote threshold to become a registered party back to 50,000 votes and keep the gubernatorial election as the qualifying election, and reduce the petition requirement for independent candidates back to 15,000 signatures.

 

Campaign Finance

  1. Amend the state’s public campaign financing system, approved in the 2021 budget, by
    1. Drastically reduce campaign contribution limits
      Support
    2. Set even lower contribution limits for registered lobbyists and those who do business with the state
      Support
    3. Move the campaign finance matching program to be administered by an independent, nonpartisan body outside of the NY Board of Election
      Support
    4. Simplify the matching system by making both in- and out-of-district donations eligible and by eliminating the three different tiers for matching
      Support

 

Budget Process

  1. Require full disclosure of grants and contracts issued by the state, including the budget lines from which the spending is made and reporting on the results of each grant or contract over a certain amount.
    Support
  1. Provide for effective online disclosure and itemization of spending from elected officials’ lump sum appropriations, including reporting on potential conflicts of interest and how the funds are spent.
    Support

 

Police Accountability

  1. Repeal Civil Rights Law, Sec. 50-a, which shields from public view the disciplinary records of police officers, correction officers, and firefighters.
    Support

 

Election Administration

  1. Restructure the state Board of Elections to abolish the strict two-party division of governance and operation and put in place professional, nonpartisan administration.
    Support
  1. Empower the attorney general to investigate and prosecute election law malfeasance and cases of public corruption.
    Support

 

Home Rule

  1. Make mayoral control of city schools permanent, with a governance system that provides for accountability, transparency, parent engagement, and democratic participation.
    Support

 

Court Reform

  1. Simplify and consolidate New York State’s court system by passing the Chief Judge’s proposed constitutional amendment to modernize the courts.
    Support

If needed, you may elaborate below on your positions on the previous questions. You may also provide additional information on any actions that you have taken or plan to take to advance your positions on these issues.

 

RESPONDING TO THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK

Government under the COVID-19 outbreak

  1. Adopt technological solutions and provisions that will allow the New York State legislature to convene and vote remotely if needed.
    Support
  1. Provide public access to observe and participate in government proceedings, in meetings that would be public under the New York Open Meetings Law, via live and recorded video available on government Website:
    Support
  1. Implement immediate programs to facilitate absentee voting for all New York voters as long as the widespread contagion risk of COVID-19 continues, under current state constitutional limitations. This includes electronic submission of absentee ballot applications without a wet signature and a public information campaign.
    Support
  1. What are your concerns regarding the use of emergency powers during this crisis, and how do you think NY government can maintain public accountability standards at this time?
    With any added emergency powers granted to the executive comes the added responsibility by the legislature, the public, and the media to ensure that the power isn’t limitless and used in accordance with our ethics, laws and oversight capabilities.

 

Serving the public under the COVID-19 outbreak

  1. What are the biggest challenges in your district in dealing with the coronavirus outbreak?
    Stopping the spread. Correcting misinformation. Providing PPE for essential workers. Helping with challenges with remote learning. How to plan for re-opening our economy in a smart fashion without jeopardizing the public’s well-being. Helping those who have suffered from a loss of income during this time. This pandemic will have everlasting impacts on everyone.
  1. What are the appropriate roles of city, state, and federal governments in a crisis such as this?
    To act as true leaders and do what is right to ensure the public’s wellbeing is top priority and leverage the full power of the government to mitigate this pandemic. We all need to be on the same page so the coordination and dividing of the work is done seamlessly and effectively as possible because lives are on the line.
  1. How will you help your future constituents, residents and businesses, access potential funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, or any other future government relief funds?
    Our office has been working around the clock providing the public with real-time information as it unfolds. Whether it’s through texting, emails, social media, or responding to emails we’ve received- we are getting proper information out. We are also working with our federal elected officials on getting answers to questions we get pertaining to the CARES Act.

 

CAMPAIGN PROMISES MADE TO VOTERS

What are the top five promises you are making to the voters during the campaign?

Campaign Promise 1
Strong compassionate leadership in the aftermath of this pandemic.

Campaign Promise 2
Working on a sensible and fair economic solution that benefits as many people as possible impacted by COVID.

Campaign Promise 3
Pass Health Care for all

Campaign Promise 4
Maintaining and creating affordable housing so families aren’t forced to move out due to the effects of gentrification.

Campaign Promise 5
Protecting our communities from ICE raids and committing to protect our immigrant populations.

 

ETHICAL REPRESENTATION OF CONSTITUENTS

Citizens Union believes that all New Yorkers deserve to be represented by officials who work for the public interest and honor the public trust. With the corruption conviction of recent legislative leaders, we seek to endorse a candidate who will demonstrate that she/he will honor the full commitment of the oath of office, and always represent the public interest above all else.

Please tell us how you have and would continue to conduct the political affairs of this office in an upright manner, and maintain the public trust.
I believe I have always conducted myself at the highest ethical standards and will continue to do so. My public ethics disclosure forms are all up to date and available for the public to view. I served my country in the military and take my oath of office extremely seriously

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