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Elliott Naishtat was born and raised in New York City. He served as a VISTA volunteer in Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty before moving to Austin and earning a Masters in Social Work (1972) and a Juris Doctor degree (1982) from the University of Texas at Austin.
Elliott served as staff counsel for state Senator Gonzalo Barrientos before entering private law practice. He also served as chairman of Austin’s Community Development Commission and directed the U.T. School of Social Work’s Legislative Training Program. In addition to practicing law, Elliott is an adjunct assistant professor of social work at St. Edward’s University.
In November 1990, Elliott was elected to the District 49 seat in the Texas House of Representatives. He has been re-elected six times and serves on the Human Services Committee, Public Health Committee, and Long-Term Care Legislative Oversight Committee. He is a founding board member of the House Progressive Caucus.
In nine sessions, Rep. Naishtat has passed over 150 bills, including the Braille Literacy Act of 1991, Landlord-Tenant Security Devices Act of 1993, Indoor Air Quality Act of 1995, Nursing Home Reform Act of 1997, Newborn Hearing Screening Act of 1999, Medicaid Simplification Act of 2001, Mold Assessment and Remediation Licensure Act of 2003, Child Protective Services Reform Act of 2005, and Senior's Property Tax Relief Act of 2007.
He also passed bills that improved child labor law enforcement, expanded protective services for elderly and disabled people, created a statewide guardianship program, and enhanced crime victims’ rights. In addition, Rep. Naishtat co-sponsored the Texas Anti-Stalking Act and the Hate Crimes Act as well as bills that increased protections for patients in managed care organizations and private psychiatric, substance abuse and rehabilitation facilities.
In recognition of his accomplishments, Rep. Naishtat has received awards from numerous organizations including the American Association of Retired Persons, American Foundation for the Blind, American Cancer Society, People First!, Common Cause, Sierra Club, Texas Council on Family Violence, Texas Public Health Association, Texas Freedom Network, and Texas Legal Services Center.