Richard N. Gottfried

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Richard Gottfried
Member of the
New York State Assembly
for the 75th District
64th District (1983–2002)
67th District (1973–82)
65th District (1971–72)
Assumed office
January 1, 1971
Preceded by Jerome Kretchmer
Personal details
Born (1947-05-16) May 16, 1947 (age 68)
New York, NY
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Louise
Residence New York City
Alma mater Columbia Law School
Occupation politician
Website Assembly Website

Richard N. Gottfried (born May 16, 1947) is a U.S. Democratic Party politician from Manhattan, New York City. He has represented the 75th District in the New York State Assembly for more than 40 years, making him the longest-serving member of that body.[citation needed]

Early life and career[edit]

Gottfried was born in New York City, NY on May 16, 1947. He is a graduate of Stuyvesant High School (where he was a colleague of U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler, and future political consultant Dick Morris),[1] Cornell University (BA, 1968), and Columbia Law School (JD, 1973).[citation needed]

Gottfried is a fellow at the New York Academy of Medicine, as well as a member of the American Public Health Association and American Civil Liberties Union.[citation needed]

New York Assembly[edit]

Richard Gottfried represents District 75 in the New York State Assembly, which includes Murray Hill, Chelsea, Clinton, portions of Midtown Manhattan and the Upper West Side. Gottfried is a progressive Democrat consistently endorsed by the Democratic and Working Families parties.[citation needed]

Elected to the Assembly in 1970—while a matriculating student at Columbia Law School – Gottfried currently serves as Chairman of the Assembly Committee on Health[2] and is also a member of the Committees on Higher Education[3] and Rules.[4] He is also a member of the Assembly Steering Committee and the head of the Manhattan Assembly Delegation.[citation needed]

Some of his pieces of legislation-bills enacted into law that he has primary or secondary responsibility for include the creation of the Prenatal Care Assistance Program [5] as well as the Child Health Plus and Family Health Plus programs.[citation needed] He is also the author of the Physician Profiling Law, which allows patients to access information about their primary care physician; the Family Health Care Decisions Act, which prioritizes who would make health care decisions for a person who does not have a health care proxy and is incapacitated; and the Health Care Proxy Law-which allows individuals to designate a secondary party to make critical health care decisions for them if they become incapacitated-as well as the HIV Testing and Confidentiality Law.[6]

Gottfried was the sponsor of the 1998 Hudson River Park Law, which established that park, as well as the legislation to expand the Jacob Javits Convention Center.[citation needed] He was also instrumental in the enaction of the Omnibus Crime Act of 1978 and drafting of the 1976 Juvenile Justice Reform Act.[citation needed]

As chair of the Health Committee, and as a supporter of reproductive freedom, he seeks to keep New York pro-choice, and sponsors Gov. Spitzer's Reproductive Health and Privacy Protection Act.[citation needed]

Gottfried introduced the first marriage bill in the Assembly in 2003.[citation needed] When Governor Eliot Spitzer submitted it as a Governor’s program bill in 2007, Assembly Member Daniel O’Donnell, one of the Assembly’s openly gay members, became the lead sponsor.[7][8] Marriage Equality finally became law in New York State in June 2011.[citation needed]

Other bills he sponsors are: GENDA, the Gender Non-Discrimination Act which would make discrimination based on gender identity illegal;[9][10] and a bill to make the medical use of marijuana legal[11]

As a leading advocate for patient autonomy, he has a major responsibility for New York's renowned managed care reforms, and continues to sponsor legislation for stronger protections for consumers and health care providers, work toward public support for universal access to quality, affordable health care, and establish end-of-life and pain management protocols. Gottfried's NY Health bill,[12] to establish universal, publicly funded health coverage, was the first of its kind to pass a legislative body (NYS Assembly, 1992).[citation needed]

During his time as a member of the Assembly Gottfried has served in various leadership capacities, including as Deputy Majority Leader, Assistant Majority Leader, Chairman of the Assembly Committee on Codes, and Children and Families, as well as Chairman of the Assembly Task Force on the Homeless, Campaign Finance Reform and Crime Victims.[citation needed] In his most recent re-election bid he received 82% of the vote.[13]

In May 2015, Gottfried tried to curb a bill introduced by Linda Rosenthal that would allow customers to bring their dogs to outdoor restaurants, because Gottfried was afraid larger breeds would be able to grab food from tabletops.[14][15] Gottfried said: "Some dogs are tall enough that all they would have to do is turn their heads and they would be eating off people’s plates."[14] A similar bill that passed in California has not resulted in any problems, and the practice is also legal in Israel and some European countries.[14][15] The bill passed the Senate in May 2015.[14][15]


New York Assembly
Preceded by
Jerome Kretchmer
New York State Assembly
65th District

Succeeded by
Andrew Stein
Preceded by
Albert H. Blumenthal
New York State Assembly
67th District

Succeeded by
Jerrold Nadler
Preceded by
William F. Passannante
New York State Assembly
64th District

Succeeded by
Sheldon Silver
Preceded by
Rubén Díaz, Jr.
New York State Assembly
75th District