Press Release - Assemblyman Felix W. Ortiz
District Office

404 55th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11220
(718) 492-6334

The Assembly

Room 542
Legislative Office Bldg.
Albany, NY 12248
(518) 455-3821

June 26, 2005

Ortiz Convenes Historic First Time Meeting of Hispanic Elected Local Officials

San Juan, Puerto Rico - Today in an historic gathering, for the first time the leadership of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL) and Hispanic Elected Local Officials (HELO) met to discuss the formation of a partnership that can help to create strategies to collaborate and address some common public policy issues.

"Today’s meeting is a stepping stone and historical moment for NHCSL and HELO to make a big difference on the state and local level. It will be critical to begin a partnership that will result in a unique agenda with action items that will be effective for the Hispanic community," said NHCSL president and New York State Assemblyman Felix Ortiz.

HELO president and councilmember of Flagstaff, Arizona, Liberato "Libby" Silva, commented, "At today’s meeting we have gotten to know each other and recognize that all of us have concerns in our areas of responsibility. It will be important to partner so that we can collectively face some of the issues as a group and not by ourselves."

Some of the issues discussed at the meeting were immigration, homeownership, financial literacy, economic development and education, as well as creating information links and enhancing organizational communications with each other. In addition, both organizations will begin to work on memorandum of understanding to demonstrate their commitment to work together.

The Hispanic Elected Local Officials (HELO) constituency group was established by the National League of Cities (NLC) in 1976 to serve as a forum for communication and information exchange among Hispanic local government elected officials and NLC colleagues. HELO also provides guidance to the NLC Board and to its policy committees on major public policy issues affective the Hispanic and Latino communities. For more information about HELO visit the NCL web site.

The National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL) is the premier national association of Hispanic state legislators working to design and implement policies and procedures that will improve the quality of life for Hispanics throughout the country. NHCSL was founded in 1989 as a nonpartisan, nonprofit 501 (c) 3 with the mission to be the most effective voice for the more than 300 Hispanic legislators. For more information visit the NHCSL web site.