Queens DA race roundup: Katz opens campaign office, Lasak pushes for more diversity

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Courtesy of Katz’s campaign

With less than a dozen weeks to go until the Democratic primary on June 25, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz opened her first campaign office in the crowded race for district attorney.

Surrounded by colleagues in government and more than a hundred political supporters, Katz opened the location at 134-45 Building 19 in Rochdale Village, and she plans to staff several other locations across the borough.

“The energy and support at today’s campaign office opening shows just how deeply Queens residents are hoping for a new direction and new priorities for our next District Attorney,” Katz said. “From getting guns off the streets to protecting workers to making sure every victim of a sex crime is heard and can find justice, we will bring positive change to Queens’ criminal justice system. Real change comes from everyone working together, but we need a criminal justice system that treats everyone equally. Together, we will make that equal protection a reality for every Queens resident.”

There are currently seven candidates campaigning to replace Queens District Attorney Richard Brown who decided against running for re-election to the office he has held since 1991.

Councilman Rory Lancman, career prosecutor José Nieves, public defender Tiffany Caban, former Queens prosecutor Mina Malik, attorney Betty Lugo and former state Supreme Court Justice Greg Lasak fill out the field.

Last week, Lasak announced his plan to hire 18 “community DAs” from each of Queens 18 Assembly Districts. Lasak said his plan would provide a voice to the greater Queens community and increase diversity in the DA’s office. This team would seek to identify the major criminal justice issues affecting various communities in the borough and work with executive staff and line assistants to help find corresponding solutions.

“Our diversity is our strength, and the District Attorney’s office must recognize and utilize that,” Lasak said. “By hiring a Community DA from each of the 18 Assembly Districts, we’ll diversify the office, the perspectives within it, and the corresponding solutions to criminal justice issues. Given the complexity of our borough and the diverse backgrounds from which we come, it’s more important than ever that every community has a seat at the table, and that’s exactly what these hires will aim to achieve.”

Lasak has previously criticized the lack of diversity in the district attorney’s office, especially in upper management, and has pledged to make diversity in hiring a priority from day one.

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