Attorney General - 2018 General

NEW YORK STATE

ATTORNEY GENERAL

ENDORSED CANDIDATE

Letitia James – Democrat
Candidate has returned a questionnaire 
Age: 59
Occupation: New York City Public Advocate
Education: City University of New York, Lehman College, B.A.; Howard University, J.D.; Columbia University, M.P.A.

Letitia James is the New York City Public Advocate, and the first woman of color to hold citywide office. Her tenure as Public Advocate has been characterized by frequent litigation, having initiated more lawsuits than any of her predecessors. James has used the office to bring attention to issues of criminal justice, affordable housing and tenants’ rights, and to provide greater resources to underserved children and families. James has also served as a New York City Council Member, headed the Brooklyn Regional Office and Civil Rights Bureau of the Attorney General’s office under Eliot Spitzer, and worked as a public defender for The Legal Aid Society. James’s platform for the Attorney General’s office includes challenging federal policies that harm New Yorkers – especially in the area of civil rights and the environment, ensuring robust consumer protections, and enforcing pay equity. James is also committed to utilizing a joint task force between the Attorney General and Comptroller to root out abuses in state government, closing the LLC loophole to end pay-to-play schemes, and civilly prosecuting businesses that use bribes and kickbacks to win political favors. In the realm of campaign finance reform, James favors the creation of a statewide public financing system, eliminating housekeeping accounts, and overturning Citizens United v. FEC with the help of other state AGs. James is a seasoned candidate with extensive government experience, and knowledge of the Attorney General’s office. While, Citizens Union is concerned about her ability to remain independent from the Governor and party leaders when a major focus of the office should be on corruption in Albany, CU believes that Letitia James’s experience, energy, knowledge of the office and demonstrated record of public service merit her receiving our endorsement in this race.

 

Nancy Sliwa – Reform
Candidate has returned a questionnaire 
Age: 40
Occupation: Attorney/Real Estate Broker
Education: SUNY, Stonybrook, B.A.; Brooklyn Law School, J.D.

Nancy Sliwa is an attorney with a background in real estate and tax law. She currently serves as the director of the Animal Protection Division of the Guardian Angels and is running for Attorney General on an animal rights platform. Sliwa’s priorities include establishing a statewide “no-kill” animal shelter system, creating an animal abuse registry, and prosecuting sex offenders. She has also stated her support for limiting corporate campaign contributions. Sliwa is critical of many of the lawsuits recently brought by the state Attorney General against federal policy. Nancy Sliwa’s vision for the office is largely limited to promoting animal rights, and does not capture its potential to protect democratic rights and fight corruption and fraud.

 

Michael Sussman – Green
Candidate has returned a questionnaire 
Age: 64 Occupation: Attorney
Education: University of Chicago; Amherst College, B.A.; Harvard Law School, J.D.

Michael Sussman is a civil rights lawyer and political activist with extensive legal experience. Sussman has served in the US Department of Justice and was the legal representative of the Yonkers branch of the NAACP, where he took on school desegregation cases and discriminatory housing practices. Presently, he represents advocates attempting to halt the construction of a power plant in Wawayanda, New York. Sussman’s priorities for the office center on protecting immigrants, regulating NGO and charitable donations, supporting the ability of New Yorkers to propose initiatives and referenda, and rooting out public corruption. As part of this latter aim, Sussman proposes campaign finance reforms, such as public financing and banning LLC contributions, to end the tradition of pay-to-play in New York. Further, he believes the Attorney General should be empowered to investigate and prosecute state public officials, rather than relying on District Attorneys or federal law enforcement. Michael Sussman has a top-down vision for the office, in which he would review every action brought against a state agency. Citizens Union questions whether this approach is feasible and appropriate, given the possibility of differences between his and an agency’s view of the merits of a case. While Citizens Union believes Sussman to be a highly experienced litigator with a nuanced understanding of the Attorney General’s role and a laudable career in defense of civil rights, the organization is concerned with his approach to certain aspects of the office’s management.

 

Christopher Garvey – Libertarian
Candidate has not returned a questionnaire.

 

Keith Wofford – Republican
Candidate declined to participate in Citizens Union’s evaluation.