Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission Awareness - Education - Inspiration

Elliott Naishtat

Elliott Naishtat

Commissioner
Austin, TX

Mr. Naishtat is a former member of the Texas House of Representatives from the 49th District, having served from 1991 until January 2017. Mr. Naishtat focused on having a positive effect on health and human services, particularly the needs of low- and moderate-income people.

Born in New York, Mr. Naishtat received his bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Queens College in 1965. Volunteering with VISTA in Johnson's War on Poverty, he was sent to Eagle Pass, Texas where he organized residents to improve streets and access to water, but as he observed later, "we didn't eliminate poverty." After completing his VISTA service, he moved to Austin and in 1972 obtained his Master of Science in Social Work (MSSW) with a concentration in Community Organization from the University of Texas at Austin, and his JD from the UT School of Law in 1982. Elliott worked for Senator Gonzalo Barrientos as staff counsel and later entered private practice. He directed the U.T. School of Social Work's Legislative Training Program and served as chairman of Austin's Community Development Commission.

In November 1990, Elliott was elected to the District 49 seat in the Texas House of Representatives. He has been a member of the House Human Services Committee and Vice Chair of the Public Health Committee, and was a founding board member of the House Progressive Caucus. He was re-elected twelve times and passed 330 bills during his 26-year career in the Texas House.

Two of Mr. Naishtat's most notable bills were the Nursing Home Regulatory Reform Act, which garnered national publicity, and the Medicaid Simplification Act, which enabled tens of thousands of children to get on Medicaid. Other bills included the Newborn Hearing Screening Act, Landlord-Tenant Security Devices Act, Indoor Air Quality Act, Nursing Home Reform Act, Braille Literacy Act, Child Protective Services Act, and the Seniors' Property Tax Relief Act. He also passed bills that created a statewide guardianship program, improved child labor law enforcement, and expanded protective services for elderly and disabled people.