After months of speculation and rumors, Assemblymember Felix Ortiz has announced to this paper that he is officially running for the 38th Council District Seat, currently held by Councilmember Carlos Menchaca.
As recently June 20, Ortiz, the 51st A.D. representative, wasn’t on the crowded list to join the Campaign Finance Program for the 2017 election cycle, according to the New York Campaign Finance Board. That has changed.
According to a spokesperson for Ortiz, it was made official that the assemblymember was throwing his hat in the race on the morning of Tuesday, July 11, after he submitted nominating petitions containing over 3,300 signatures to the city’s Board of Elections. His campaign activity was noticed by some area residents who said that, over the weekend, volunteers for Ortiz were at the 36th Street station collecting signatures and handing out flyers.
“I am extremely proud that our team of volunteers was able to collect over 3,000 signatures in a few weeks’ time while every other campaign used paid workers from outside our community,” Ortiz wrote this paper in a statement. “The 38th Council District needs a leader that can motivate people and get results that people want. I am that person.”
In the statement, Ortiz also thanked the many volunteers who helped collect signatures. “Their hard work and commitment is why we will win this race and our community will get the services they need and deserve,” he added.
The day before Ortiz’s candidacy was officially announced, Ortiz’s son Felix W. Ortiz III took to Twitter to share the news as well. “I support my father @Felixwortiz for his bid to become the next @NYCCouncil district 38; it’s time we have leadership #Representative 4 All,” he wrote.
Ortiz has been very active in recent weeks. According to his Facebook page, he has spent a lot of time in the Sunset Park and Red Hook area, making appearances at events such as the Burma Summer Festival, the Muslim community’s Give Back Program, the Faith Meets Medicine event at Coffey Park, the End Broken Windows Town Hall, and a community block party on 36th Street where he talked to locals.
Ortiz has been assemblymember since 1994 when he defeated Javier Nieves, who is also running for the council seat. He was named assistant speaker of the Assembly in 2015 and is the first Hispanic to hold that title.
Ortiz will battle Menchaca, who won the 2013 election against then-incumbent Sara Gonzalez, and who announced his bid for re-election months ago.
Other candidates include Nieves, Delvis Valdes, Chris Miao, Gonzalez and Carmen V. Hulbert.