Assembly Helps Make HERstory in Racing: Betty A. Leon, Esq. to Become First Woman of Color on the New York Racing Association Board of Directors

South Queens, NY Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato (D-South Queens) joined in excitement with Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie over the news that renowned community leader Betty A. Leon, Esq. would be appointed to the Board of Directors of the New York Racing Association (NYRA).

Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato, who represents the Aqueduct Racetrack, is authorized to nominate a member of the community to the New York Racing Association’s Board of Director, with the final approval and official appointment by New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. This specific appointment plays a critical role in ensuring that the community of South Queens, along with the hundreds of residents who work at the racetrack not only have a voice, but a fierce advocate and a seat at the table.

“This is victory not only for the State, but for our community in South Queens. The board will be greatly improved by the contributions Betty will make through her vast experience and wealth of knowledge,” said Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato. “Her decades of leadership in the community make her the perfect person to ensure that our community, and the individuals and families who work in the racing and wagering field, are properly represented and cared for on a State level,” the Assemblywoman continued.

The Assemblywoman sits on the New York State Assembly Racing and Wagering Committee and brought Betty Leon’s name forward to Speaker Carl Heastie for consideration. “It was the Speaker who gave the final approval on Betty’s appointment. I am grateful for his extraordinary partnership and for elevating Betty to this position,” the Assemblywoman said.

“I am proud to appoint Betty Leon to the NYRA Board of Directors because I am confident that she will be a valuable asset to the board, and that she will add much-needed diversity to the board.” said Speaker Carl Heastie. “Her deep roots in the Rockaway community ensure that she will protect the interests of all the stakeholders, including the hardworking New Yorkers whose livelihoods depend on the continued success of New York’s horse racing industry. I would also like to thank Assemblymember Pheffer Amato for her recommendation.”

"I am extremely humbled and excited to be appointed to the Board of Directors of the New York Racing Association. I have been on many boards and an advocate for my South East Queens Community in the Rockaways for decades. I do this not for the recognition, but to ensure that our community is in the forefront and has a seat and voice at the table. It is welcoming to know that someone like our Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato noticed my works and was willing to place my name for consideration. Thank You Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato and thank you Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie for your appointment. I will continue to be a fierce advocate for the people of my community and the State,” said Betty A. Leon, Esq.

Betty Leon is a resident of Far Rockaway and is a registered nurse and attorney. Her activism and involvement in the community knows no limit as she has been involved in Community Board 14, sitting on the Board of Directors as First Vice Chair at the Addabbo Health Center, serving as Chair of Peninsula Preparatory Academy Charter School and work throughout Queens County.