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Carmen Ortiz Poised to Become Massachusett’s First Hispanic and Woman U.S. Attorney

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The country has already broken the racial barrier by electing an African American president. It’s interesting that it has taken this long to get a Hispanic or a woman as a U.S. Attorney in Massachusetts.

By Jonathan Saltzman
Boston Globe Staff
BOSTON — Carmen M. Ortiz, who grew up poor in New York City’s Spanish Harlem neighborhood and became a state and then a federal prosecutor in Massachusetts, is poised to become the first woman and the first Hispanic US attorney in the state.

US Senators Edward M. Kennedy and John F. Kerry recommended yesterday that President Obama nominate Ortiz, the daughter of Puerto Rico natives, to the highest federal law enforcement position in the state.

“It’s a tremendous challenge, but I think one that I’m prepared to take and I’m prepared to meet,” the 53-year-old Milton woman said in a brief telephone interview. “I feel very grateful, and I’m humbled by the senators’ confidence in me.”

Ortiz has worked in the US attorney’s office in Massachusetts for the past 12 years and did two stints for about 10 years as a prosecutor in the Middlesex district attorney’s office. She has had a variety of other professional experience, including helping the National Football League in 1990 to investigate allegations by a Boston Herald reporter of sexual harassment against members of the New England Patriots.

The senators, who picked Ortiz from among three finalists recommended by a committee that vetted candidates, said she was a “standout throughout this process.”

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