Biography

Ellen Jaffee
Assemblymember Ellen Jaffee (D-Suffern) was first elected to the New York State Assembly in 2006. She represents the 97th Assembly district, which includes Orangetown, the Ramapo Villages of Spring Valley, Suffern, Airmont, Chestnut Ridge, Hillburn, parts of Montebello, New Square, and areas in unincorporated Ramapo, including sections of Monsey.

In Albany Ellen has been a tireless advocate for quality education, job creation, property tax relief, small business assistance, environmental protection and sustainable communities, so that Rockland County will remain a desirable place to live and work.

Ellen Jaffee has stood up for Rockland’s middle-class and working families, fighting to increase the State’s minimum wage, ensure full equality for women including equal pay for equal work and reproductive rights, and that high-quality, affordable child care is available to everyone who needs it.

An outspoken voice for the communities she represents, Ellen Jaffee’s accomplishments include expanding work force assistance and training programs for women so they qualify for higher paying jobs, including those jobs that have traditionally gone to men; securing funds for Rockland’s public schools; getting state oversight of the East Ramapo school district; bringing state leaders to meet with residents of Rockland’s river villages to discuss safety and the impacts of the construction of the new Tappan Zee Bridge and collaborating with the NYS Department of Transportation on state road improvements and high-visibility signs that improve safety for cyclists.

Ellen Jaffee’s standout bills include New York’s landmark Breast Density Inform Law, the most comprehensive in the nation, helping to increase early detection standards in breast cancer screening; prohibiting the sale of dangerous over-the-counter medicines that contain DXM, a cough suppressant found in more than 100 cough and cold medicines to persons under the age of 18 without a prescription to help prevent abuse of this dangerous substance among teens; and banning smoking outdoors on the grounds of hospitals and residential health care facilities, a law which ensures they are 100 percent dedicated to protecting the public’s health.

Ellen currently serves as Chair of the Assembly Task Force on Food, Farm and Nutrition Policy. Her Suburban Agriculture Law, which went into effect in 2015, reduces the current required acreage to form an Agricultural District from 500 to 250 acres. The new law was inspired by Rockland farmers and advocates, who have been trying for years to remove barriers to farming in suburban communities and meet the increasing demand for fresh, nutritious, locally grown food.

As Taskforce Chair, Ellen’s agenda includes developing programs to improve nutrition, especially among children, older adults and the underserved; supporting the Hunger Prevention Nutrition Programs and reducing food waste.

Highly visible in her community, Ellen regularly holds neighborhood office hours and free public information sessions in response to community needs. Most recently, partnering with the PTAC Program at the Rockland Economic Development Corporation (REDC), Ellen organized workshops for minority- and women-owned businesses that are so vital in our communities to assist them in getting MWBE Certification and to strengthen their capacity to bid and participate in government subcontracting opportunities.

Ellen serves on the following Assembly committees: Children and Families; Higher Education; Environmental Conservation; Economic Development, Job Creation, Commerce and Industry; Mental Health and Local Governments.

For her work, Ellen has received a number of awards and honors from a diverse set of community organizations, including: The Rockland NAACP; Rockland NOW; Rockland Business Women’s Network; Riverkeeper; Delta Sigma Theta Sorority; the Nyack Center; Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity; the Rockland School Board Association; the Haitian American Cultural & Social Organization; and many others.

Ellen earned her B.A. in Education from Brooklyn College and her M.S. in Special Education from Fordham University. Preceding her election to the NY State Assembly, Ellen served as a Rockland County Legislator and a Village of Suffern trustee. A Rockland resident since 1978, she lives in Suffern with her husband Steve. They have two children and three grandchildren.