Robert Ortt

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Rob Ortt
Member of the New York Senate
from the 62nd District
Assumed office
January 1, 2015
Preceded by George Maziarz
Mayor of North Tonawanda
In office
January 1, 2010 – December 31, 2014
Preceded by Lawrence V. Soos
Succeeded by Arthur G. Pappas
Clerk-Treasurer of North Tonawanda
In office
2008–2010
Preceded by Office created
Succeeded by Daniel R. Quinn
City Treasurer of North Tonawanda
In office
2007–2008
Preceded by Leslie Stolzenfels
Succeeded by Office abolished
Personal details
Born 1979
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Meghan Ortt
Residence North Tonawanda, New York
Education St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute
Alma mater Canisius College
Occupation Politician, soldier, financial analyst
Military service
Allegiance United States
Service/branch New York Army National Guard
Years of service 2001-2009
Rank First lieutenant
Battles/wars War in Afghanistan
Awards Bronze Star Medal
Army Commendation Medal
Afghanistan Campaign Medal
Combat Infantryman's Badge

Robert G. Ortt (born c. 1979) is an American Republican politician and member of the New York State Senate, representing the upstate 62nd district which covers Niagara and Orleans counties.

Early life and family[edit]

Robert G. Ortt is the son of Robert and Suzette Ortt, and the grandson of Milford R. Ortt (d. 2016) and Ruth DeGregorio, of North Tonawanda.[1]

Ortt attended St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute in Buffalo and graduated from Canisius College,[2] with a degree in international relations and political science.[3] Ortt and his wife, Meghan, live in North Tonawanda.[4]

Career[edit]

In October 2001, Rob enlisted in New York Army National Guard in response to the September 11 attacks. From March 2008 until December 2008, he served in the War in Afghanistan where his mission was to serve as a combat mentor/advisor to the Afghan National Police in Kandahar City, the second-largest city in Afghanistan. In recognition of his service, he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, and the Combat Infantryman's Badge[5] He achieved the rank of first lieutenant.[3]

North Tonawanda politics[edit]

On April 3, 2007, Rob was appointed as City Treasurer by the Common Council of North Tonawanda, New York. A few months later on November 6, 2007, he was elected to serve a four-year term, which began on January 1, 2008.[5] On November 4, 2008, the town voted to eliminate the position of City Clerk and combined the offices of the City Clerk and City Treasurer to form one position of Clerk-Treasurer, making Ortt the first to hold that title.[5]

From January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2014, Ortt served as mayor of North Tonawanda, taking over from Lawrence V. Soos,[6] a Democrat.[7] He was succeeded as mayor by Arthur G. Pappas.[8][9]

New York State Senate[edit]

In 2014, when George Maziarz opted not to run for reelection, Ortt ran for his seat, which Maziarz had held since 1995.[2] The 62nd District covers all of Niagara and Orleans counties, as well as the towns of Sweden and Ogden in Monroe County.[10] Ortt was elected to the New York State Senate, beating Johnny G. Destino, a Democrat and attorney from Niagara Falls.[11]

In the Senate, he was named chairman of the Standing Committee on Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities as well as the co-chair the Senate's Joint Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction.[4]

In May 2015, Ortt, along with John J. Bonacic and Rich Funke,[12] called for Dean Skelos, the then Republican majority leader of the State Senate, to step down and said he would support a motion to replace Skelos as majority leader.[13]

In July 2016, Ortt and New York Assemblyman Ray Walter asked New York's comptroller, Thomas DiNapoli, to objectively investigate the state contracting piece of Buffalo Billion, a large state investment into job creation around Buffalo, New York. Their request is due to the multiple investigations into Buffalo Billion and their beliefs that money invested into the project should be scrutinized. In the past, construction workers working for projects in the Buffalo Billion initiative were paid late. As part of the Buffalo Billion project and investigations therein, SolarCity is building a new factory that will be 1.2 million square feet called the SolarCity GigaFactory.[14]

Positions[edit]

As a candidate for the Senate in 2014, Ortt indicated that he opposes abortion, except in cases of rape or incest.[3] He stated that he "strongly supports" the other nine pieces of Governor Cuomo's women's equality bills including "tougher equal-pay laws and laws to combat sexual harassment, domestic violence, and human trafficking."[3] Ortt supports the repeal of the SAFE Act, legislation passed by the State Legislature and signed into law in January 2013 in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut,[15] should be repealed.[5] Ortt also supports the repeal of the New York State tax credits for film production companies and has sponsored a bill for that measure.[16]. On the EPL/Environmental Advocate's Environmental Scorecard this year (2018), Ortt scored a 68, up from a score of 53 points in 2017 [17] . In 2018, Ortt helped pass legislation he sponsored that added geothermal heating systems to the list of financeable heating systems in New York State. This reduced the cost of a geothermal heating system, making it more affordable for New Yorkers who choose to purchase one. [18]

Corruption charges and dismissal[edit]

On March 22, 2017, Ortt, along with his predecessor George Maziarz, was indicted by a grand jury on corruption charges. Prosecutors allege that Ortt violated state election law, over payments to his wife for a no-show job by two Niagara County marketing and public relations firms.[19] Ortt is charged with three counts of offering a false instrument for filing; he has pleaded not guilty.[20]

On June 27, 2017, all charges against Ortt were dismissed by Judge Peter A. Lynch, reasoning that, "The fundamental flaw in the presentation before the grand jury, however, is that there was no evidence whatsoever that Defendant Ortt knew the source of the monies paid by Synor/Regency to Meghan Ortt was NCRC."[21] Lynch also noted that "[there] was no valid line of reasoning and permissible inferences which could lead a rational grand juror to issue an indictment in this case."[22] Lynch did not contend that Schneiderman had prosecuted Ortt in bad faith or presented inaccurate evidence to the court.[23]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Milford R. Ortt". The Buffalo News. October 16, 2016. Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  2. ^ a b Miller, Melinda (15 July 2014). "North Tonawanda mayor sees State Senate opportunity as natural progression". The Buffalo News. Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d Prohaska, Thomas J. (26 October 2014). "Ortt sees his military service as key ingredient for state role". The Buffalo News. Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  4. ^ a b Ortt, Rob (March 10, 2015). "Ortt Reaches Out To Reporter Readers". Niagara Falls Reporter. Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d "About Robert G. Ortt". nysenate.gov. New York State Senate. Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  6. ^ Michelmore, Bill; Galarneau, Andrew Z. (3 February 2009). "Fiscal stability highlighted in Soos' speech". The Buffalo News. Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  7. ^ Staff (16 October 2015). "Soos files suit over firing from Board of Elections". The Buffalo News. Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  8. ^ "North Tonawanda". www.northtonawanda.org. Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  9. ^ Summerson, Mia (January 3, 2015). "North Tonawanda welcomes a new mayor". Lockport Union-Sun & Journal. Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  10. ^ Besecker, Aaron (4 November 2014). "Ortt declares victory in 62nd State Senate race". The Buffalo News. Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  11. ^ "Robert Ortt elected to State Senate 62nd District". WGRZ News. November 4, 2014. Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  12. ^ Mckinley, Jesse (5 May 2015). "Dean Skelos, New York Senate Leader, Stands Firm Despite Calls to Resign". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  13. ^ Mckinley, Jesse; Kaplan, Thomas (10 May 2015). "Dean Skelos Faces Growing Opposition as Support Wanes Among Republicans". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  14. ^ Rozens, Tracy (2016-07-21). "Challenges remain for Buffalo Billion project featuring major SolarCity factory". Daily Energy Insider. Retrieved 2016-08-04.
  15. ^ Thomas Kaplan, Sweeping Limits on Guns Become Law in New York, New York Times (January 15, 2013).
  16. ^ https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2017/S6968
  17. ^ Precious, Tom. "Environmental group grades state lawmakers on voting records". The Buffalo News. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
  18. ^ BGTH, Admin. "NYS Politicians Support Renewable Energy". Buffalo Geothermal. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
  19. ^ McKinley, Jesse (March 23, 2017). "New York State Senator Robert Ortt Is Charged With Violating Election Law". New York Times.
  20. ^ Robert Gavin, Ortt, Maziarz plead not guilty in AG investigation: GOP senator charged in job scam; predecessor with campaign-cash payoff, Albany Times Union (March 24, 2017).
  21. ^ https://www.timesunion.com/allnews/article/Judge-dismisses-indictment-of-Sen-Rob-Ortt-11251374.php
  22. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/27/nyregion/judge-dismisses-charges-against-new-york-senator-robert-ortt.html Judge Dismisses Charges Against New York Senator Robert Ortt, New York Times, Jesse McKinley, June 27, 2017. Judge Lynch ruled that there was insufficient evidence to proceed with the case since Ortt could not be connected to documents that had been placed into evidence. Retrieved March 31, 2018.
  23. ^ Witch Hunt: The thin line between justice and politics,City & State New York, Justin Sondel, November 10, 2017. Retrieved March 31, 2018.