Area lawmakers support appointment of interim attorney general

Published May 24, 2018 at 7:38am

Area state officials on both sides of the aisle are hailing the appointment of Barbara Underwood as interim Attorney General of New York State.

“I believe that Barbara Underwood is a reasonable choice to serve as interim Attorney General of New York State until elections take place this fall and that she has the qualifications, credentials and skill set needed to effectively serve in this role,” said State Sen. Joseph A. Griffo, R-47, Rome.

“However,” Griffo added, “we have been operating under a 90-year-old law that gives the Legislature the power to appoint someone to this office when a vacancy occurs. It is time to amend the state Constitution, change the law and take away the power from the Legislature and give it to the people.”

“I have introduced and advocated for legislation that calls for special elections to fill vacancies in the offices of Attorney General and Comptroller. The time is now to act on this legislation so that New Yorkers, and not the Legislature, will have the final say in who represents them in these positions,” Griffo said.

“After serving for the past two weeks as acting attorney general, I was pleased today to cast my vote in support of Barbara Underwood as the first woman to serve as New York’s attorney general,” said Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi, D-119, Utica said. “Ms. Underwood brings experience and common sense to this important position. While there were a number of good applicants interested in this position, her work as our state’s solicitor general, and her reputation as a knowledgeable and hard-working public servant made her an outstanding choice for the job.”

Sen. David Valesky, D-53,
Oneida, added, “Today I had the pleasure of voting to appoint Barbara Underwood as New York State’s first female attorney general. She is highly qualified for the office, and I am confident the work of the attorney general’s office will continue smoothly under her direction.”

Assemblyman Brian Miller, R-101, New Hartford, said that “today is a win for residents statewide as the Legislature confirmed Acting Attorney General Barbara Underwood as the AG until the voters can decide in November who will assume the state’s top law enforcement position. This process was transparent and efficient. In the end, a well-qualified and non-political candidate was chosen, and the voters will be given the power in the fall. This process should serve as a model for legislative processes moving forward.”

NOTE: An Associated Press story on Underwood and the appointment is on page 16.