Alvin Bragg, Thomas Kenniff Facing Off In Manhattan District Attorneys Race

Position Sought

Manhattan District Attorney

Party Affiliation

Democrat

Neighborhood of residence

Harlem

Family

My wife Jamila and our two children.

Does anyone in your family work in politics or government?

No

Education

A.B. in Government (cum laude, general studies) from Harvard and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Occupation

Visiting Professor of Law and Co-Director of the Racial Justice Project at New York Law School where his research and coursework focus on the intersection of criminal law and civil rights, prosecutorial discretion and accountability, and the functions of state Attorneys General.

Previous or Current Elected or Appointed Office

Chief Deputy Attorney General of New York managing office of 1,500; Executive Deputy Attorney General for Social Justice; Assistant US Attorney, Southern District focused on corruption; civil right attorney.

Campaign website

https://www.alvinbragg.com/

Why are you seeking elective office?

I'm running to make the District Attorney's office the progressive leader it should be. One that proves we can keep neighborhoods safe and end the racial disparities that are still deeply ingrained in the system. Growing up in Harlem, I was repeatedly stopped and frisked by the NYPD, including 3 times at gunpoint. I've seen loved ones arrested and have opened our home to support a close family member post-incarceration. I've spent the better part of two decades standing up to the powerful and fighting for justice. As the Chief Deputy Attorney General in New York State, I managed a 1,500-person staff and led some of the office's biggest cases—from launching the probe of the Trump Foundation to cracking down on tenant harassment to leading investigations of police-involved killings, putting a spotlight on workplace discrimination and leading an investigation that helped end stop and frisk. Together, we can reshape and re-imagine the DA's office to make our city safer and more just.

The single most pressing issue facing our (board, district, etc.) is _______, and this is what I intend to do about it.

The most important responsibilities are to keep people safe and deliver justice for all. I refuse to accept the false narrative that these are in conflict, and I have spent my life at the intersection of both. When everyone in Manhattan is equally free from violence or the threat of violence, from each other and from the police, and when everyone in Manhattan equally trusts that the criminal justice system is fair and just, we will have achieved true public safety. The District Attorney must enact policies and make decisions that keep Manhattanites safe. The DA must also promote fairness and justice for all. My work and my life teach me that safety and justice work in tandem: you can't have one without the other.

What are the critical differences between you and the other candidates seeking this post?

• I am the only candidate with deep experience managing lawyers to bring justice for New Yorkers, including serving as Chief Deputy Attorney General, overseeing 1,500 people and some of the office's biggest cases. This is what's needed to bring real culture change and end racial disparities.• I know how to build complex cases. The next DA will inherit an ongoing investigation of Donald Trump. As Chief Deputy AG I led the investigation into the Trump Foundation resulting in a judge ordering Trump to pay $2 million settlement and sued the Trump administration's decision to add a question about citizenship to the 2020 census and I've done complex mortgage fraud and tax cases.• I have the lived experience. I was repeatedly stopped and frisked by the NYPD as a teenager, including three times at gunpoint, shot at and held at gunpoint by people who were not police officers, and supported a close family member who moved in with me post-incarceration after having been held in solitary confinement and witnessing a drug-related murder – giving me an understanding of the injustices and inequalities that are baked into the criminal justice system.

If you are a challenger, in what way has the current board or officeholder failed the community (or district or constituency)

For too long in Manhattan, we've had two standards of justice -- one for the wealthy and well-connected and another for everyone else. The DA has broad discretion to either reinforce or reform racial disparities within our criminal justice system. It's not just the cases of the famous and privileged like Harvey Weinstein, Jeffrey Epstein and the Trumps who have managed to escape prosecution. At the same time, the vulnerable have been over-prosecuted and criminalized people simply for being poor.

Vance has a lengthy history of announcing policies that appear progressive on their face, yet do not result in progressive outcomes - in fact, Manhattan has by far the highest rate of pretrial incarceration in the five boroughs. With my experience implementing progressive policies managing 1200 attorneys, I will ensure that the new DA does more than repeal some of Vance's regressive policies for public relations purposes, and actually implements progressive change.

How do you think local officials performed in responding to the coronavirus? What if anything would you have done differently?

This health crisis has laid bare so many stark inequities in our society, not just in the availability of healthcare and the outsized impact on communities of color, but also terrible truths about our criminal justice system, food security, and the inequities of education funding, availability of learning resources, and the opportunity to succeed. We badly need more voices and elected officials with deep roots in impacted communities, who understand the challenges our children, parents, and elder people face every day, and have a passion and determination to make our voices heard to level the playing field for all of us.

While this solution obviously goes well beyond what a District Attorney can do, it is clear the answer starts with priorities and a willingness to take on the structural racism in our society. We can shift money from the police budget to investing in impacted communities. As the son of a dad who oversaw homeless shelters and a mom who was an educator, I learned early that investing in people and communities is the cornerstone for true public health and safety. We need the government at all levels to follow this model.

As District Attorney, I will lead by example, taking on racial and economic biases through action, accountability, and transparency. The COVID pandemic has exacerbated what remains a chronic and unacceptable problem in our city -- a systematic pattern of abuse by bad actors who pad their checkbooks on the backs of struggling working people. I will channel the power of the Manhattan District Attorney's Office to hold accountable: employers who cheat and endanger their employees, like our frontline workers; those who exploit our health care system; and people who steal government funding allocated to address these inequities. This is an urgent matter for fairness, for economic opportunity, and for racial justice. I have done this type of work, prosecuting employers who exploit workers (including home health aides who were paid unlawfully low wages), the owner of a pharmacy who engaged in health care fraud to the detriment of people addicted to opioids, and a government contractor who stole millions of dollars from a program designed to bridge the digital divide for NYC school children.New York is a city built on hard work, and our strength is our people. As District Attorney, all New Yorkers will be treated fairly and racial disparities will not be tolerated. Together, we can make New York a safer, better, and more just place to work - for everyone.

Describe the other issues that define your campaign platform.

From day one, I will work to build an office that delivers one standard of justice for all – an office that ends racial disparities and mass incarcerations, refuses to criminalize poverty, demands justice for survivors of sexual assault, brings new funding and focus to reentry programs, creates a civil rights unit to handle investigations of police misconduct, focuses on cases – like unlawful gun sales by licensed firearms companies who flout the law – that actually make us safer, and refuses to take campaign donations from any lawyer who appears before the office.

What accomplishments in your past would you cite as evidence you can handle this job?

I have spent the better part of two decades in the courtroom, standing up to the powerful and fighting to defend the rights of those without status or power, the New Yorkers who need justice most — and deserve it. It's not just that I have prosecutorial experience, it is that I've been the right kind of prosecutor. I've taken on big, structural cases that actually make us safer and more just – directing a groundbreaking case against one of the city's worst landlords, prosecuting employers for wage theft and over worker safety, holding Trump and his family accountable for their misuse of Trump Foundation funds, prosecuting the head of a $30 million business that laundered millions of dollars for a violent criminal enterprise, the owner of a pharmacy who engaged in health care fraud, and a State Senate leader for corruption.

The only misdemeanor I ever prosecuted were two people who were blocking access to a Planned Parenthood facility.

But just as important as my reform credentials are my lived experiences: growing up in Harlem and now raising two children here; having been repeatedly stopped and frisked by the NYPD as a teenager, including three times at gunpoint; having had guns pointed at me three times by people who were not police officers; having supported a close family member who moved in with me post-incarceration in the wake of solitary confinement and after having witnessed a drug-related murder. I know what it means to live in a community where crime is a meaningful problem, but also what it means to live in a community where you worry that your son, like I was, will be thrown up against a wall by the police for nothing on his way home.

All of this provides me with a deep personal understanding of the injustices and inequalities that are baked into the criminal justice system. This is the experience and commitment you need to reshape and repurpose the DA's office to end racial disparities, build trust in the office for survivors, deliver one standard of justice for all, and focus on cases — like unlawful gun sales by licensed firearms companies who flout the law — that actually make us safer.

The best advice ever shared with me was:

From Preet Bharara: In everything we do, the public should expect us to remember always that our goal is not to win, but to do the right thing, for the right reasons, in the right way. In a word, to do justice.

What else would you like voters to know about yourself and your positions?

As a Black man who grew up in Harlem in the 1980s, I have been surrounded by race, class, and inequality throughout my life. From whitewashing alcohol and cigarette billboards targeting Harlem as a youth leader at my church to helping lead the response on my college campus to the beating of Rodney King, I have been outspoken about racism, classism, and inequality throughout my life.

My campaign is an extension of my life's work -- suing police who use excessive force, prosecuting landlords who harass tenants out of their homes, and prosecuting employers who cheat workers in low-wage jobs. Throughout my life and the campaign, I speak directly about the power structures that we need to dismantle and how we can do so. I am comfortable having the necessary, hard conversations that so many others feel are uncomfortable. And, I have had them everywhere, from the street corners of Harlem to church basements to the halls of the AG's Office to One Police Plaza. I talk often about these conversations as part the campaign, both to prioritize the issues and also to preview how I will act if I am elected DA.


Thomas Kenniff

Age (as of Election Day)

45

Position Sought

Manhattan District Attorney

Party Affiliation

Republican

Neighborhood of residence

Chelsea

Family

Wife Emily, Daughters Emma (20) Madison (5) Parker (3) Ainsley (1)

Does anyone in your family work in politics or government?

No

Education

Hofstra Law School, Juris Doctor, 2000, University of Rochester, BA, 1997

Occupation

Attorney

Previous or Current Elected or Appointed Office

None

Campaign website

www.kenniff4da.com

Why are you seeking elective office?

I am running for District Attorney because I am appalled at the increase in crime and decline in quality of life in New York City. I believe this is the product of misguided progressive criminal justice policies, such as the disastrous bail reform bill and the abandonment of proactive policing.

The single most pressing issue facing our (board, district, etc.) is _______, and this is what I intend to do about it.

The increase is violent crime. I will push to repeal the disastrous bail reform so that judges once again have the power to remove dangerous criminals from our streets and subways. I will also support the return of the NYPD's plainclothes anti-crime whose primary mission was disrupting subway crime and getting illegal guns off our streets. Finally, I will fairly prosecute, but not abandon, the enforcement of quality of life offenses. Big leaks sink big ships, and history has proven that ignoring quality of life offenses, creates a permissive environment that leads to an increase in overall crime.

What are the critical differences between you and the other candidates seeking this post?

Nearly all my opponents support decriminalizing, de-policing and de-prosecuting. This is utterly wrong-headed and will put all innocent New Yorkers at risk.

If you are a challenger, in what way has the current board or officeholder failed the community (or district or constituency)

How do you think local officials performed in responding to the coronavirus? What if anything would you have done differently?

I have been on the frontline of COVID 19 response as an officer in the New York Army National Guard. I have been working at the Javit's Center since last year, when established it as a hospital, and this year when it became the flagship vaccine site in the State. I think the government has done a lot of things right, but we now must focus on attracting business, residents and tourists back to our great city. We cannot do that if we can't ensure the safety of all New Yorkers.

Describe the other issues that define your campaign platform.

As District Attorney, I will also emphasize rehabilitation over incarceration where appropriate, and improve the ability of our criminal justice system to identify and treat those defendants with mental health issues. I will also make it easier for defendants who have demonstrated a commitment to rehabilitation and a law-abiding life to obtain early sealing of their criminal records.

What accomplishments in your past would you cite as evidence you can handle this job?

I have twenty years of experience of both side of the criminal justice system, as a prosecutor and defense attorney. I served as the Chief Legal Assistance Officer with the 42nd Infantry Division in Tikrit, Iraq, creating a law office in a combat zone that covered a land area nearly the size of West Virginia, responsible for tens of thousands of soldiers.

The best advice ever shared with me was:

Believe half of what you see, and none of what you hear.

What else would you like voters to know about yourself and your positions?

I will always put public safety and fairness first!

Source : https://patch.com/new-york/washington-heights-inwood/manhattan-district-attorney-race-bragg-vs-kenniff

2838
Manhattan District Attorney Race: Bragg Vs. Kenniff

Source:Patch

Manhattan District Attorney Race: Bragg Vs. Kenniff

N.Y.C. Election Highlights: Adams Elected Mayor; Bragg, Williams and Lander Clinch Victories

Source:New York Times

N.Y.C. Election Highlights: Adams Elected Mayor; Bragg, Williams and Lander Clinch Victories

Manhattan District Attorney Race: Bragg Vs. Kenniff

Source:MSN

Manhattan District Attorney Race: Bragg Vs. Kenniff