06/29/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Equal, Progressive and Independent Justice for All: Why I Want to Serve as New York's Next Attorney General

I am running for Attorney General because I believe there is no higher calling than the pursuit of justice.

  • Equal justice regardless of race, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation or identity.
  • Independent justice without regard to political or special interests.
  • And progressive justice that takes an activist approach to protecting everyday New Yorkers.

Let me say a few words about my vision for this office.

Equal justice means that there is not one set of rules for the powerful and another for everyone else.

Investor scams, mortgage fraud and insurance industry abuses are ripping off New Yorkers and devastating communities in every corner of our state.

The current economic crisis presents an opportunity that we can't let go to waste. New Yorkers have been fortunate to have Andrew Cuomo as our Attorney General -- protecting working New Yorkers against the banks, insurance companies and big corporations.

Building on Andrew Cuomo's record as Attorney General, we must take on corrupt businesses when they engage in crooked practices. I won't simply play "whack a mole" when it comes to businesses that break our consumer protection laws - I will fight to achieve systemic reforms.

Independent justice
means rooting out corruption without regard to political or special interest influence.

If you have faith in the public sector, as I do, you must be the harshest critic of corruption, waste and fraud in government. As Attorney General, I will fight to restore transparency, honesty and accountability to the public sector to give New Yorkers the government they deserve.

Let's start by putting public integrity officers in every regional office across the state to prosecute corruption in state institutions, and serve as watchdogs for local governments as well.

Finally, progressive justice means taking an activist approach to protecting the rights of all New Yorkers.

It means seizing an opportunity to transform our criminal justice system in this state, and in this nation. I know this is possible. When no one said we could do it, I fought - successfully - to end the unjust Rockefeller Drug Laws. We expanded drug treatment as an alternative to prison, gave judges more discretion to divert drug-addicted individuals convicted of non-violent drug crimes to treatment, and increased penalties for drug kingpins.

As Attorney General, I will advance a smart-on-crime agenda to keep our streets safe and our communities whole. That includes a high-tech, multi-state plan to fight illegal guns and gangs - an "I-95" coalition of state attorneys general, and state and local law enforcement agencies, to share and track data on gun crimes and illegal gun sales among states.

And we will establish an Actual Innocence office to ensure that innocent people are not locked up while the real criminals go free.

I understand why people are frustrated. People are sick of a political system that is driven by well-connected lobbyists and special interests, disillusioned by an economic system that has one set of rules for the powerful and another for everyone else; And by a financial crisis that has devastated communities upstate and down, and left confidence in our institutions at an all time low.

But I take the longer view. Out of these challenges, we have an opportunity to set a progressive example here in New York and show the rest of the country what's best about America.

This is not the time for small ideas, sitting on the sidelines or going along to get along; it's time to think big.

For all the reformers, for all the innovators, for all of the people who believe in progress: This is our moment.

The late, great Ted Kennedy said "For all my years in public life, I have believed that America must sail toward the shores of liberty and justice for all. There is no end to that journey, only the next great voyage."

This is the beginning of my voyage to the office of Attorney General and when we get there, I promise to pursue justice each and every day.