The Republican candidate for New York attorney general John Cahill was in Rensselaer County Thursday afternoon.
Cahill, on the campaign trail in his quest to oust first-term sitting Democrat Eric Schneiderman, appeared in Troy with Rensselaer County Sheriff Jack Mahar. "We've had an attorney general who doesn't understand the root cause of crime is the criminals. We need somebody in the attorney general's office who understands that the most important things that government can do for its people is protect them. From that, all good things happen. Economic growth. Development. Economic success."
Cahill, who was former Governor George Pataki's chief of staff from 2002 to 2006, promises he'll make substantial changes to the way the AG's office runs. Cahill spoke with reporters after an hour-long meeting with the Rensselear County Sheriff Jack Mahar. Cahill stated "Cost consideration plays an important role. We need to be out there fighting crime on the streets and there needs to be support for that approach from the state's attorney general's office. The state's attorney general's office has significant resources and significant leadership that it could provide to local law enforcement officials like the sheriff here in Rensselaer county. That's not happening now. You talk to law enforcement officials around the state. They haven't heard or seen the attorney general in the four years that he's been in office."
What Cahill perceives as an absence of involvement reflects findings of a January Siena poll in which Schneiderman was viewed favorably by just 27 percent of New Yorkers, unfavorably by another 15 percent. And 58 percent responded that they didn't know much about him.
Sheriff Mahar says crime is up under Schneiderman’s watch. “Part of the problem that we’re seeing these increases in drug problems, domestic violence and such. It’s perpetuated that we’re solving these problems. We’re not solving these problems. They’re getting worse. “
The AG's office issued a statement in response to Cahill’s press conference, saying “Crime in New York State has decreased under Attorney General Schneiderman’s watch, and his outstanding record rooting out crime and corruption couldn’t be clearer. He has taken on drug traffickers, prosecuted corrupt elected officials who abuse the public trust, and got illegal guns off of our streets – because he knows there has to be one set of rules for everyone.”
New York has not had a Republican attorney general since Dennis Vacco in the late 1990s.