MANHATTAN - Dan Quart sat down with Jewish Insider to discuss what he brings to the Manhattan District Attorney’s race as the only elected official and the only candidate who has successfully reformed the criminal justice system to be more fair. Read more below.
Jewish Insider: Dan Quart’s Run for Manhattan District Attorney
Of the eight candidates running for Manhattan district attorney, just three have no experience in prosecution. Dan Quart, a Democratic New York State assemblyman [...] is one of them — and he takes it as a point of pride.
“If I thought a prosecutor was the right person to turn this office around, to truly reform it, I wouldn’t be a candidate,” Quart, 48, said in an interview with Jewish Insider last week. “For those who want another prosecutor, they have their choice of five candidates. But I’m offering a different perspective, and, I think, the right perspective for Manhattan at this particular time.”
His perspective centers on a broad array of reforms that would significantly limit the purview of the office — a necessary step, he believes, in reducing incarceration rates and establishing a fairer criminal justice system.
Nily Rozic, a Queens assemblywoman, said that Quart has long been “at the forefront” on criminal justice issues. “I’ve seen firsthand Dan’s work, and can certainly trust and rely that he will be the kind of district attorney who takes issues seriously,” Rozic told JI, “who fights for communities that are the most vulnerable, who really need the most help.”
With no public polling, it is difficult to assess which candidates have an edge in the jam-packed primary battle. But Eli Valentin, a political analyst in New York, suggested that Quart was in a strong position to emerge victorious thanks to his formidable war chest as well as endorsements from prominent lawmakers like Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY).
In a crowded race that won’t be subject to the city’s new ranked-choice voting system, Valentin said, Quart could be operating at an advantage. “I think that favors a candidate like Quart, who is well-known in his district and has garnered some key support in different communities in Manhattan,” Valentin told JI. “He has the makings for a winning campaign.”
Quart, for his part, feels as if his credentials uniquely qualify him for the role — and that voters will ultimately take note when they head to the polls in June.
The aspiring DA attended law school at St. John’s University and began his career in private practice while doing pro bono work for the Legal Aid Society’s civil division. After an unsuccessful City Council bid in 2005, he opened a legal clinic, and then, in 2011, was elected to his current role representing the Upper East Side, where he lives with his wife and two children.
“I have been a leader in Albany on legal issues related to reforming our criminal legal system to achieve decarceration, fairness and a greater sense of equity for Manhattanites,” Quart said. “Running for district attorney is an extension of those life experiences, as well as my desire to execute on policies that will completely revamp and reform this office — not to be another prosecutor to run this office, but to offer real and meaningful change.”
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