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State Sen. Kaminsky announces run for D.A.

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Todd Kaminsky, who was re-elected last November to a third two-year term in the State Senate, announced his candidacy for Nassau County district attorney Tuesday.

Appearing in a dark blue suit despite the high heat, the 42-year-old Kaminsky stood outside the Nassau D.A.’s office in Mineola, flanked by his wife, the lawyer Ellen Tobin, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, and a host of other state and county officials, retired police officers, his parents and supporters from his hometown of Long Beach.

Kaminsky was endorsed by the Nassau County Democratic Party late Friday afternoon. Nassau’s outgoing D.A., Madeline Singas, was confirmed as a judge on New York’s highest court this month, triggering an election in November.

“We begin our campaign for Nassau County district attorney today,” said Kaminsky, to cheers from a crowd of about 100 people. “We need steady, experience leaders” in the D.A.’s office, he said.

Kaminsky, who was a state assemblyman before winning a seat in the State Senate in 2016, emphasized his law-enforcement experience in his speech.

He has been criticized by Republicans for his support of a bail reform law that freed defendants awaiting trial who could not afford bail by limiting the number of crimes for which judges could set bail. The issue was raised in Kaminsky’s most recent election. He said he has since made adjustments to the law, adding several more crimes for which judges can set bail.

“I will stack my record fighting violent crime against anybody’s,” Kaminsky said in answer to a question about the issue.

Kaminsky worked as an assistant district attorney in the Queens County district attorney's office, prosecuting domestic violence cases, robberies, shootings and other violent crimes. In 2008, he joined the U.S. attorney's office in the Eastern District of New York, in Brooklyn, as an assistant U.S. attorney, where he worked for six years.

There, he became acting deputy chief of the Public Integrity Section, prosecuting elected officials, including State Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr. for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from a health care network that he ran; Assemblyman Jimmy Meng for wire fraud for offering to bribe prosecutors to obtain a lower sentence for a businessman charged with tax fraud; and U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm, for felony tax fraud.

Kaminsky noted that he had also prosecuted drug dealer James "Jimmy Henchman" Rosemond, securing an indictment after Rosemond was captured by agents from the federal Drug Enforcement Agency after remaining a fugitive for a month.

Two retired police officers, Tom Wilson, who served with the New York Police Department and Suffolk County Police Department, and Chris O’Connor, who was also with the NYPD and Rockville Centre Police Department, were on hand to endorse Kaminsky. They thanked Kaminsky for his bill that provides sick time to people who worked on the rescue, recovery and cleanup following the World Trade Center attacks.

Kaminsky was also endorsed by Curran, who said he would be “a trusted partner in fighting street crime and political corruption” in Nassau.

The three-term state senator is chairman of the

Senate Environmental Conservation Committee. He is likely to run on his environmental record, as well as his law-enforcement background. Kaminsky has pushed for reforms to the NY Rising system, licensing for mold removal companies and implementation of an information-sharing database in Nassau to help track abandoned properties.

Kaminsky is a familiar figure at events in Long Beach. He is often accompanied by one or both of his children, Rafe and Rory. His wife mentioned that Kaminsky announced his candidacy for D.A. on Rory’s third birthday.

Born and raised in Long Beach, Kaminsky attended local schools. He succeeded Harvey Weisenberg in the State Assembly in 2014. Weisenberg, 86, was on hand for Kaminsky’s announcement.

After Dean Skelos, of Rockville Centre, was expelled from the State Senate in 2015 after a conviction on corruption charges, the Democratic Party selected Kaminsky as its nominee for his seat in the special election in April 2016. Two weeks later, he was officially declared the winner after defeating Republican challenger Chris McGrath by 886 votes.

Kaminsky and McGrath ran against each other again in the November 2016 general election—with Kaminsky winning a full term this time around. Last year, he defeated Victoria Johnson, who had never held elective office before and campaigned on a single issue — repeal of the bail reform law.

Republicans will name a candidate soon. On Monday, the Nassau GOP issued a statement that read, “The only people who are happy about Todd Kaminsky’s nomination for district attorney are the thousands upon thousands of dangerous criminals who he voted to set free

during his tenure in the State Senate. Nassau Democrats could not have selected an individual who is softer on crime.”