Terrorism and national security are the priorities of Carmen Ortiz, the new Massachusetts U.S. Attorney said in a recent interview with The Patriot Ledger.
In addition, Ortiz, who took office last Nov. 9 (her formal swearing-in ceremony was Jan. 11), said her office will “continue to build on what we’ve done in the past.” The office also will make financial fraud, political corruption and gun and gang violence priorities, Ortiz told the newspaper.
Since Ortiz took office, she has made some staff changes and has shifted some of the office’s priorities. Even though she’s taking charge and making the office her own, she says she is still overwhelmed by the “tremendous amount of pride and accomplishment” that comes along with being the state’s first Hispanic and female U.S. Attorney.
“I think it’s really important for the leaders in government or private industry to truly represent the different nationalities and groups that form a community and a state. I felt very humbled to be selected. It meant a lot to my family.”
Ortiz found out about her nomination from the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.). Learning of her impending nomination was “very exciting,” Ortiz told The Patriot Ledger, adding that it was “very touching” to hear the news from Kennedy. “That meant a lot to me.”
A sense of pride has long been important to Ortiz who “knew all along [she] wanted to be a lawyer.”
“I never thought about doing anything else. Maybe it was watching trials on TV, and thinking it was exciting to be in front of a jury arguing a case. That fascinated me. (At George Washington University Law School) I realized it wasn’t just presenting the case. It was – and this is why I wanted to primarily be a prosecutor – that sense of being able to do justice, of being able to work with victims and then help make people whole, people who had suffered a great tragedy. But also, being a prosecutor was a way of ensuring that the law was abided by, not just by citizens you would investigate and prosecute, but (also) by law enforcement that you would work with as well.”