Menchaca Endorses Walsh in 51st Assembly District Race

Katherine Walsh

In a not unexpected blow to Assemblymember and Assistant Assembly Speaker Felix W. Ortiz’s (D-Sunset Park, Red Hook) reelection bid, Councilmember Carlos Menchaca (D-Red Hook, Sunset Park) endorsed his primary opponent Thursday, urban planner and climate activist Katherine Walsh (D).

Walsh welcomed Menchaca’s endorsement “I am proud to be endorsed by City Council member Carlos Menchaca as we share a vision for the kind of budget justice and recovery that our district needs. I will work tirelessly for my district with bold legislation for all New Yorkers, centered on local job creation, a true Green New Deal, universal health care, affordable housing, protecting immigrants, and education,” she said.

“The unexpected economic shock and COVID-19  has hit our most vulnerable communities the hardest and while our district suffers a housing and affordability crisis, Felix has been building a war chest of donations from hotel and real estate LLCs. He is so out of touch with his constituents that he hasn’t received a single campaign contribution from anyone who lives in our district.”  

Kings County Politics contacted Menchaca for further comment. He explained just how much Walsh’s campaign impressed him. “For months I watched Katherine’s campaign blossom throughout every corner of the district. Time and time again, Katherine has been responding to the community physically and virtually to hear the concerns of our neighbors. Her partnership showed me she wants to work with all of us,” he said.

He continued. “There’s no way I was going to stay out a race that would bring new energy to the Assembly. I endorsed Katherine Walsh because the stakes couldn’t be higher. In the end, she was the only candidate who asked for my endorsement and that makes sense. The DSA [Democratic Socialists of America] has never had any intention of working with me to advance the participatory government we have been working on here in the district. Vote with your heart. My vote goes to Katherine. It’s time to unite and win.”

Ortiz declined to comment on the endorsement, which was not unexpected as he ran against Menchaca in the last city council race.

A 25-year incumbent, native of Puerto Rico and a U.S. Army veteran, Ortiz does remain popular with constituents, particularly with residents of the New York Housing Authority’s Red Hook Houses. He received a 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.

Additionally, Ortiz has a good reputation for introducing and getting legislation passed in Albany.

In 2000, Ortiz was way ahead of the national curve in introducing and gett passed a law to ban the use of handheld cell phones while driving a motor vehicle and subsequently another law banning texting while driving. His legislation was adopted by other states and has since saved countless lives.

The primary will be held Tuesday, June 23.


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