Ortiz talks about his election loss and looks ahead

July 17, 2020 Jaime DeJesus
Ortiz talks about his election loss and looks ahead
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When the long process of counting absentee ballots was over, political newcomer Marcela Mitaynes had defeated incumbent Felix Ortiz in the Democratic primary in the 51st Assembly District.

Ortiz, who has represented Sunset Park, Red Hook and parts of Bay Ridge since 1995, talked to this paper about the results, what he accomplished in the Assembly and his hopes for the future.

“It’s up to the community and they decided it was time to give somebody else a chance,” he said. “They have given me a great opportunity to excel and be myself and be an advocate for them.

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“I’m not going to be in the office but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to be in the community. I have a home here. My grandkids go to school in Sunset Park. One of my kids still lives here. People will still see me around and at PTA meetings because I will go on behalf of my grandkids if my son can’t attend. Now I have the time to do that.”

Ortiz said he will be paying attention to how Mitaynes does in the job.

“I wish [Mitaynes] good luck and the best because it’s not about winning,” he said. “It’s about governing, moving forward and it’s to make sure that the community will continue to move forward, and I hope she can enhance and advance the agenda that I have put in place and make sure the people in the district don’t get displaced.”

Ortiz is most proud of the work he did to address children’s obesity, eating disorders and diabetes.

“We made the change on the menu calorie bills for children on the amount of calories and trans-fat in meals,” he said. “[We] also addressed eating disorders and opened three centers for eating disorders in the state of New York.”

Ortiz says he’ll miss serving the 51st District.

“I think that I will miss the state house, the people’s house, because that’s where you can make differences from the inside,” he said, “but the great thing is I gained so much and learned so much, especially as an assistant speaker.

“Now it’s time for me to go out there and use that knowledge of advocating for the people in this community and state, like people with disabilities or [who] need organ transplants or suffer from mental health issues and eating disorders. I want to make sure I continue to speak on those issues.”

Ortiz provided a message of thanks to his supporters.

“I am very proud of the work you’ve done and the trust and humbling confidence you devoted to me for the 26 years and to be on the road through this campaign,” he said.

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