Public Advocate Tish James launches campaign for state attorney general

Going for it: Public Advocate Tish James, center, announced she’s running for New York State Attorney General at the Brooklyn Historical Society in Brooklyn Heights on May 16.
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The city’s head advocate officially wants to be the state’s top attorney.

Public Advocate Tish James, a Brooklynite and lawyer who formerly represented Fort Greene as councilwoman, announced her campaign to become New York State’s next attorney general at a rally on Wednesday, less than two weeks after former top prosecutor Eric Schneiderman resigned in disgrace following accusations of sexual and physical assault by four women.

James — who dubbed herself “The People’s Lawyer” — promised to continue fighting for those vulnerable city dwellers she helped in her past and current seats amid a crowd of union reps, local pols, and other supporters who cheered her decision during the event at the Brooklyn Historical Society in Brooklyn Heights.

“Throughout my entire career [I was taught] that the law is the most effective tool in our quest for justice and for progress, and I’ve used it in my work defending our most-vulnerable communities,” James said. “New Yorkers deserve an attorney general who is unwavering in her fight to uphold and defend their most basic rights, and I promise all of you, I will never, ever waver in my fight to uphold and defend your most-basic rights.”

Last week, James took to social media to say she removed herself from the list of candidates interested in interviewing for the job with Albany lawmakers — who can appoint a successor for vacated seats such Schneiderman’s via a so-called back-room deal, according to a New York Times editorial, which criticized that process and demanded the Assembly let Acting Attorney General Barbara Underwood stay in the role she assumed following her former boss’s resignation until voters can elect a replacement in the fall.

“After thoughtful and careful deliberation, I have decided not to participate in the ongoing legislative process regarding the attorney general’s office,” James wrote on Twitter on May 11, two days after the Times published its editorial.

But days later, she formed a committee with the state Board of Elections to run the good old-fashioned way in the September Democratic primary, and launched her campaign on May 16.

And James isn’t the only Brooklynite vying to replace Schneiderman. Former Brooklyn Heights Councilman David Yassky — who briefly eyed the neighborhood’s state Senate seat that Democrat Brian Kavanagh filled last year after Daniel Squadron’s abrupt resignationreportedly joined the 17-person shortlist of hopefuls who submitted resumes to the Assembly for the attorney general gig.

But Yassky, who now runs Pace University’s law school after representing the Heights in Council from 2001 to 2008, said a supporter actually submitted his resume on the former pol’s behalf. And although he is flattered at the prospect, he thinks Underwood should remain in the role.

“I didn’t submit a resume, I’m not seeking that appointment, and I am very much hoping the legislature designates Barbara Underwood as the interim attorney general,” Yassky said. “She’s ideally suited for the job, and to keep the invaluable work of that office moving forward at this moment.”

And if Underwood remains in the seat, she will face off against James and the other Democratic candidates vying for it in the September primary, the winner of which will then move on to compete in November’s general election.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 5:44 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Douglas from Prospect Heights says:
Is there no one capable and objective ready to take the helm?
May 18, 2018, 7:03 am
Katie from Flatbush says:
How can anyone take her seriously when her name means butt?!? Oh yes, here’s the very “important” Tush James!
It’s not even her real name.
May 18, 2018, 4:42 pm
Fred from Windsor Terrace says:
Our state and local politicians, Democrat or Republican, are parasites.
May 18, 2018, 8:07 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Until anyone better is found for this position, this is most likely who we will end up with.
May 19, 2018, 4:04 pm
Gina from Brooklyn says:
She can’t get enough bribes and kick-backs in her current position. She’s looking to get big money in Albany.
May 20, 2018, 11 am
Maxine Simmons from Bed Stuy says:
As a lesbian, I was glad to see one of our going for it! Sticking it to the men! The filthy, disgusting men!!
But her frequent use of prostitutes and sex workers mean I cannot support her! “Tish” - you are not “above” the law!!!
May 20, 2018, 11:18 am
Sweet Pete from F-Greene says:
Loved her as my council-critter. Huge disappointment now. I guess every Public Advocate is gonna be useless and scamming for another job, usually Mayor.
May 21, 2018, 10:03 am
Homey from Crooklyn says:
"Public Advocate" An absolutely useless entity
that empty suits use as a springboard to higher office
May 21, 2018, 11:52 am
Why I'm not voting for Tish James from Brooklyn says:
My landlord has been on the worstland list for years. Calls to the then public advocate Bill DeBlasio were ignored, and emails by his staffer Emma Wolf. Then I find out my landlord/developer has donated to Deblasio. Silence from the public advocate who is suppose to advocate for the residents of NYC. Then comes Tish James and she's as full of )*& as Deblasio and you submit your complaint, and you never hear back from her office. You call, you email and no response. Now she wants to run for a state-wide position when she can't handle a city-wide job, I don't think so. Voting for Teachout! Plus to put the nail in the coffin to date Tish James has accepted donations from landlords on the worstland lord list for her AG run. Can we all say out loud SELL OUT.
Sept. 3, 2018, 8:45 am

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