Puerto Rico lacks a voting member of Congress, but 38-year-old Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck partner Manuel Ortiz often serves as the voice of the U.S. territory in Washington. Ortiz, who has been a lobbyist in Washington for more than 10 years, has worked on many issues concerning the U.S. territory for clients that include Puerto Rico’s Senate, the Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico and the city of San Juan.
He said one of his biggest lobbying accomplishments was on behalf of the territory’s poor residents. The lobbyist helped secure a $500 million increase in funding for the Medicare and Medicaid programs in Puerto Rico under President Barack Obama’s sweeping health care legislation that became law last year. “When I have the ability to help poor people in my native Puerto Rico, that is probably the most gratifying work I do,” Ortiz said.
But he hasn’t spent his whole career working only on issues related to Puerto Rico. Ortiz, who focuses on telecommunications, transportation, financial services, tax and energy issues at Brownstein, also has done work for companies that include Visa Inc., Verizon Communications Inc., Microsoft Corp., Sony Corp., MetLife Inc., Hilton Worldwide and Qualcomm Inc. Ortiz said his job is “mayhem.” But he said he loves the work. “This is a passion of mine and it does not stop.”
Ortiz’s path to becoming one of Washington’s top lobbyists took him through the Miami office of Verner Liipfert Bernhard McPherson & Hand, now part of DLA Piper; Greenberg Traurig; and Quinn Gillespie & Associates, which he left in June to join Brownstein.
But the trail had a slight diversion along the way. He was a professional tennis player for a year after college and before he started at the University of Kansas School of Law. — Andrew Ramonas