Commissioner Antonio “Tony” Ortiz Biography
Born in Manatí, Puerto Rico, Honorable Antonio "Tony" Ortiz is the first and only Puerto Rican elected official to hold a position as Commissioner of the City of Orlando. Having been raised in a home of public servants inspired commissioner Ortiz to develop a genuine sense of commitment for his community. At the age of eighteen, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and for nine consecutive years he served his country in active and reserve military duty. Honorable Ortiz is a proud veteran of the Persian Gulf War. Graduated from the University of Central Florida, commissioner Ortiz has also dedicated part of his professional career to the accounting and banking industries.
Prior to being elected, commissioner Ortiz served for 14 years as police officer for the Orlando Police Department. During his tenure in this department, he successfully played important roles for various tactical units, including: Special Task Forces, Gangs Unit, Uniform Drug Unit and the SWAT Team. His efforts and commitment to maintain a safe community for every citizen, led Honorable Ortiz to continue academic courses and obtain greater knowledge in the area of law and order. He became a crime prevention expert in specialty areas of crimes against the elderly and disabled citizen, and crime prevention through environmental design.
In his desire to maintain the public informed about their rights and responsibilities, he created a communications platform to develop direct contact with the community and in 2005 he wrote and hosted the television segment: "Behind the Badge" for the Orlando Police Department and the City of Orlando. From 2004 – 2007 commissioner Ortiz served as a Liaison Officer between the Government, the Community and the Police Department. This experience revealed new angles of need among the community he served. Motivated to further help the constituents of the City of Orlando, in 2007 he launched his candidacy for the Orlando City Commissioner, District 2 seat.
Commissioner Ortiz works proactively in his community and pioneered the implementation of the concept of Neighborhood and Business Councils. He believes in taking a hands-on approach to maintain communities and merchants involved with city government and law enforcement, while keeping the local government abreast of the community issues and merchants’ concerns. Commissioner Ortiz further drove the business council into becoming the first business association in District 2, known as Gateway Orlando (formerly known as the Semoran Business Partnership). Soon after, Gateway Orlando successfully obtained the Market Street Program designation which works to enhance businesses in certain areas of the City. Commissioner Ortiz led the revitalization of the City of Orlando District 2 by initiating a vision plan to redevelop the Semoran corridor. This corridor is the main gate to the City of Orlando from Orlando International Airport and his initiative has promoted the creation of thousands of jobs.
Commissioner Ortiz opened the first Seniors vs. Crime Office in Orlando; a special crime prevention project of the Florida Office of the Attorney General that provides methods for the Florida’s senior population to be alerted and protected of consumer fraud, con games, and other criminal acts.
In partnership with Valencia College and the Orange County School Board, commissioner Ortiz also created the Central Florida Public Service College & Career Readiness Program, whose goal is to establish a path for younger generations to start familiarizing themselves with public service disciplines while in preparatory school.
As part of his belief that every person should have a fundamental knowledge of government in 2014, commissioner Tony Ortiz launched a Government Academy. This academy provides the tools for Central Florida residents to make conscious decisions when electing people to represent, follow and understand legislations being enacted. By educating people about the inner workings of all levels of government, this initiative allows them to understand, get involved, and hold their representatives accountable.
In alliance with the Trust Orlando Coalition, commissioner Ortiz led the efforts to pass the Trust Act Policy and Resolution with the hopes of creating a better sense of trust between Orlando Police Department and undocumented population of Orlando.
Understanding the important international role, the City of Orlando play as a tourism and business destination and in efforts to establish fruitful business relationships with Latin America and the Caribbean, commissioner Ortiz has led and participated on multiple international missions. These missions have resulted in the opening of new international flights between Orlando and Latin America, the establishment of new international businesses
in Orlando and important business exchange relationships between the City and Latin America. At the same time, Honorable Ortiz has led humanitarian missions to the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Colombia and Nicaragua.
His experience and knowledge in matters of public safety and in collaboration with Dr. José F. Méndez, former president of Ana G. Mendez and Dr. Jeffrey Goltz, Executive Dean of the School of Public Safety at Valencia College, commissioner Ortiz created and developed an academic law and order program that seeks to professionalize the police system in Puerto Rico. Implemented by Universidad Ana G. Méndez, the program became the Instituto de Segurida Pública (ISEP) and models the best practices of the police academy in Central Florida.
Commissioner Ortiz has been invited as a speaker and lecturer at the international level, including the Chamber of Commerce of Armenia, Colombia; FESP / Faculty of Higher Education of Paraná in collaboration with Florida Christian University, Brazil; Universidad Ana G. Mendez, P.R.; Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana, Colombia; and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Costa Rica, among others.
Currently, as President of the Florida League of Cities, he is leading a statewide initiative, “Building Stronger Cities: Organizing, Empowering and Delivering,” to help every resident learn the ways of government so they will know what to expect from legislators and learn that legislation should be based upon the needs of the people. By being more informed and more engaged, residents will feel more empowered to protect their cities and their right to make local decisions.
Commissioner is highly involved and has been a part of many organizations:
- Florida League of Cities:
- President 2020
- 1st Vice President, 2019
- 2nd Vice President, 2018
- Executive Board Member, 2016 – Present
- Chairman of Transportation & Intergovernmental Relations Committee
- Transportation and Intergovernmental Relations Legislative Policy Committee Member, 2014-2015
- Co-Chairman of Technology Leadership Committee (Blue Ribbon Task Force on Technology), 2013-2014
- International Relations Committee Member, 2013
- Finance, Taxation Committee Member, 2013
- Board of Directors, 2011- Present
- Florida Abolitionist - Board Member, 2016-2018
- Tri-County League of Cities
- Board of Directors, 2020 President
- Board of Directors, 2019 Vice President
- Board of Directors, 2013 President
- Board of Directors, 2012 Vice President
- City of Orlando, Mayor Pro-Tempore, 2009-2010 and 2010-2011, 2019-2020, 2020-2021
- After School All-Stars, Board of Directors, Member
- Heart of Florida United Way Board of Directors, 2014 & 2015, Member
- Hispanic Elected Local Officials (HELO), Member
- Earthweb Foundation Board, Member
- Central Florida Marine Corps Foundation, Member
- National Latino Peace Officer Association –
- Former President of the Central Florida Chapter 2007 – 2008
- Central Florida Chapter, Treasurer, 2004 – 2006
- “Trabajando Juntos” (Working Together Group), Former Member
- Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Trustee
- Florida Crime Prevention Practitioner
- Florida Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design Practitioner
- Florida Elder Crime Prevention Practitioner