Assistant DA launches bid for Ulster’s top prosecutor

Michael J. Kavanagh, Ulster County’s chief assistant district attorney, formally announced his campaign for county district attorney over the weekend.

His candidacy has been expected. His boss, current DA Holley Carnright, announced earlier this month that he would not seek reelection. In that same announcement, he praised Kavanagh and expressed hope that Kavanagh would enter the race to succeed him in office.

Kavanagh, a Republican, is the son of former Ulster County DA and state Supreme Court judge E. Michael Kavanagh.


So far, the only candidate to enter the DA’s race is Kingston trial attorney Dave Clegg. Clegg, who ran unsuccessfully in last year’s Democratic primary for the 19th Congressional District, is running as a reformer and has pledged to bring principles of restorative justice and a focus on rehabilitation to the DA’s job.

Here’s Kavanagh’s full announcement:

Today, I am proud to announce that I will seek election as Ulster County’s next District Attorney. I have been a professional prosecutor for almost twenty years, the last four as Chief Assistant to District Attorney Holley Carnright. That experience – successfully prosecuting murderers, rapists, child abusers, burglars, armed robbers, and individuals who seek to sell illicit drugs to our children – has taught me all too well how important, how difficult and how challenging this job can be. Representing victims of terrible crimes and seeing that they, their families and loved ones receive a fair measure of justice in our criminal justice system is an immense responsibility, and it is a public service that has been my privilege to render.

Working with the good men and women in law enforcement, who have dedicated their lives to protecting the law abiding citizens of our community and ensuring that Ulster County continues to be a wonderful place to live and raise a family, has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.

But, my vision as the District Attorney of Ulster County is broader than prosecuting criminals. Prevention, through vital initiatives such as the Intimate Partner Violence Intervention program which takes a proactive approach to preventing domestic violence, and our continued partnership with addiction recovery agencies to raise awareness during this opioid epidemic, is essential to the health and safety of this community.

Ulster County is my home and has been for most of my life. If is a wonderful community and it is where my wife and I are proud to be raising our two beautiful daughters. I am running for Ulster County District Attorney so I can use my experience to continue to fight for the victims of crime and to make this county the safest it can be.