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Amsterdam News primary endorsements

4/12/2011, 5:24 p.m.

Elinor Tatum

As this year's election season is gearing up, candidates seeking the endorsement of the New York Amsterdam News made their annual pilgrimage to the endorsement meetings. The meetings, all held in one day, saw the likes of senatorial, congressional and gubernatorial hopefuls to young men and women running for public office for the first time.

At this point in time, the Amsterdam News is only releasing endorsements for the primary elections. If a candidate does not have a primary, you will not see them mentioned until our final round of endorsements come later in the year.

Here are our picks for the 2010 primary election

State Attorney General

Eric Schneiderman

There are five candidates trying to replace Andrew Cuomo as he seeks the governor's mansion: lawyer Sean Coffey, Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice, Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, Insurance Commissioner Eric Dinallo and State Senator Eric Schneiderman.

Overall, the editorial board found this to be a good group of candidates. Richard Brodsky would to transform the attorney general's office to a place where the average New Yorker would be involved. Kathleen Rice emphasized the local work she has done to build relationships with local politicians in Hempstead and other Nassau County communities. And Sean Coffey has a strong military background that almost landed him a top spot in the Obama administration. Eric Dinallo was a key player in Elliot Spitzer's attorney general's office and worked on bringing Wall Street cheats to justice.

But the overall choice of the board was Eric Schneiderman. Schneiderman has been a stalwart defender of the rights for our community. For years, Schneiderman has served the community and the state on many levels. Right out of college, as a deputy sheriff, he started the first comprehensive drug and alcohol treatment program at the local jail.

He later attended Harvard Law School and then clerked for two years in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. He worked in a private law practice for several years, where he represented advocacy and public interest groups before he decided to go back into public service, where he has sat as a New York State Senator since 1998.

While in the State Senate, Schneiderman has been instrumental in passing legislation that directly affects the lives of our community. From A Clinic Access Bill to the legislation to increase the minimum wage, to his most recent legislation focusing on how inmates in upstate penitentiaries were counted by the United States Census, he has been there fighting for us.

As attorney general, Schneiderman says he will to bring real reform to the state. One of these reforms is an innocence unit within the criminal division that, when appropriate, will examine prior convictions to ensure that justice is done.

He will work to protect the environment and make sure that our water is safe, starting with preventing dangerous gas drilling upstate until the methods are proven safe.

He will endeavor to protect the people of the state by reforming unfair market practices in the financial sector while, at the same time, ensuring faith in our own public sector.