Richard N. Gottfried

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Richard Gottfried
Member of the New York State Assembly
Assumed office
January 1, 1971
Preceded byJerome Kretchmer
Constituency65th district (1971–1972)
67th district 1973–1982)
64th district (1983–2002)
75th district (2003–present)
Personal details
Born (1947-05-16) May 16, 1947 (age 75)
New York City, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
SpouseLouise Gottfried
EducationCornell University (BA)
Columbia University (JD)

Richard N. Gottfried (born May 16, 1947) is an American attorney and politician serving as a member of the New York State Assembly from the 75th district. Gottfried has been a member of the Assembly for more than 50 years, making him the longest-serving member of the body and one of the longest-serving state legislators in the United States.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Gottfried was born in New York City. He is a graduate of Stuyvesant High School, where he was a classmate of Jerrold Nadler and Dick Morris.[2] Gottfried earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Cornell University in 1968 and a Juris Doctor from Columbia Law School in 1973.[citation needed]


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 who has been endorsed by the Democratic and Working Families parties.

Elected to the Assembly in 1970, while a matriculating student at Columbia Law School, Gottfried serves as chairman of the Assembly Committee on Health[3] and is also a member of the Committees on Higher Education[4] and Rules.[5] He is also a member of the Assembly Steering Committee and the head of the Manhattan Assembly Delegation.

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 [6] as well as the Child Health Plus and Family Health Plus programs. 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.[7]

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. He was also instrumental in the enaction of the Omnibus Crime Act of 1978 and drafting of the 1976 Juvenile Justice Reform Act.

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

Gottfried introduced the first same-sex marriage bill in the Assembly in 2003. When then-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.[8][9] Marriage equality became law in New York State in June 2011.

Other bills he sponsors are: GENDA, the Gender Non-Discrimination Act which would make discrimination based on gender identity illegal;[10][11] and a bill to legalize the use of medical marijuana.[12]

As a leading advocate for patient autonomy, he has a major responsibility for New York's 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,[13] to establish universal, publicly funded health coverage, was the first of its kind to pass a legislative body (NYS Assembly, 1992).

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. In his 2010 re-election bid he received 82% of the vote.[14]

Retirement from NYS Assembly[edit]

On December 13, 2021, Gottfried, then the longest serving member of the New York State Assembly,[15] announced he would not seek re-election in 2022 thus ending his tenure in the Assembly after (what will be) a record 18,993 days in office.[16]


  1. ^ Kurtz, Adam (January 8, 2021). "44 years in, Sen. Ray Holmberg is tied for longest serving state senator in the nation". Grand Forks Herald. Archived from the original on December 31, 2021.
  2. ^ Pooley, Eric (September 2, 1996). "CONVENTION '96: WHO IS DICK MORRIS?". Archived from the original on March 12, 2008.
  3. ^ "New York State Assembly – Committees, Commissions, and Task Forces".
  4. ^ "New York State Assembly – Committees, Commissions, and Task Forces".
  5. ^ "New York State Assembly – Committees, Commissions, and Task Forces".
  6. ^ Sabine Heinlein (June 7, 2007). "From the Inside Out".
  7. ^ "Account Suspended". Archived from the original on September 19, 2008. Retrieved July 13, 2009.
  8. ^ NY Times; Spitzer Plans to Introduce Gay Marriage Bill
  9. ^ NYS Assembly Approves Marriage Equality, Again, June 15, 2011; retrieved August 1, 2011
  10. ^ "New York State Assembly Approves GENDA". The Bilerico Project.
  11. ^ ] Text of the Bill
  12. ^ NY Daily News; Medical marijuana bill may be gaining support in state Senate
  13. ^ The Business Review: NY assemblyman proposes universal health care plan
  14. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on December 18, 2013. Retrieved July 24, 2012.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ Mahoney, Bill (April 15, 2022). "Gottfried closing in on half-century in Albany". POLITICO. Archived from the original on April 15, 2022. Retrieved April 15, 2022.
  16. ^ Ferré-Sadurní, Luis (December 13, 2021). "A Champion of Liberal Causes in New York to Retire After 52 Years". The New York Times. Archived from the original on April 15, 2022. Retrieved April 15, 2022.
New York State Assembly
Preceded by New York State Assembly
65th District

Succeeded by
Preceded by New York State Assembly
67th District

Succeeded by
Preceded by New York State Assembly
64th District

Succeeded by
Preceded by New York State Assembly
75th District