Written by Tamara Torres, ND
I first met Assemblyman Felix Ortiz almost a decade ago. He was visiting SCNM to learn more about Naturopathic Medicine and Dr. Paul Mittman asked me to show him around. The highlight of Ortiz’s trip was a visit to Hamilton Elementary School’s clinic shift supervised by Dr. Matt Baral. The clinic provides naturopathic and primary care to children in an area that is 90% Latino, many of whom are undocumented and may not otherwise have access to medical care.
Ortiz, who is also the President of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators, invited me to their annual conference in 2006. While there, he personally introduced me to legislators from around the country and I had the opportunity to speak with each one about the importance of Naturopathic Medicine and encourage legislation in their home states. Ortiz invited me to speak at their annual meeting and I was able to distribute print materials and a video created by Dr. Steve Nenninger advocating the licensure of Naturopathic Medicine.
Since becoming Assemblyman in 1994, Ortiz has made the health and safety of New Yorkers his top priority and for this reason has supported legislation to license Naturopathic Doctors. Ortiz achieved passage of the nation’s first law to ban the use of hand held cell phones while driving a motor vehicle. He worked to provide farmers with economic relief in 2002 by passing a law requiring schools to purchase locally grown produce and passed New York’s first Statewide Child Obesity Education Program law which ensures that nutritionally based education programs be a part of every classroom. Ortiz 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.
When Ortiz contacted me a few months ago and shared with me the difficult primary election he was facing, I was happy to lend a hand. However, raising funds for a candidate half way across the country is a tough sell for local donors. I opted to promote a virtual fundraising event on Facebook and invited people to RSVP to “attend” by making an online donation. The event is called the Felix Ortiz for New York 10k FUNd Run on Saturday, June 28th. I will be running around Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis. I think of it as the Minne-Apple supporting the Big Apple! Assemblyman Ortiz has a long history of advocating for Naturopathic Medicine and now it is our turn to advocate for his re-election!