With one term under her belt, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz is now being challenged for her record.
Katz’s main opponent is George Grasso. The former cop and judge has taken to attacking Katz, saying she has an easy-on-crime approach to the job.
NY1 caught up with Grasso at a campaign meeting where he talked about his plans to make Queens residents feel safer.
"It’s how we are going to do the job. How we are going to make things better,” Grasso said.
Grasso says retail theft and public safety have taken a back seat in the two years since Katz took office.
He has accused her of being a “politician over a prosecutor.”
“Ghost gun busts and an occasional gun takedown isn’t going to help mom-and-pop running the ninety-nine cent store,” he said in his criticism of Katz.
Grasso is leaning into his decades-long career as an NYPD officer and a criminal court judge to make public safety a top issue.
If elected into office, Grasso plans on putting priority on victims of crimes, improving quality of life and establishing a mental health bureau.
“As long as they participate in good faith in the mental health services. Come to court and avoid rearrest, we will do everything possible to help them avoid jail or at least minimize jail and if possible not end up with a felony record,” he said.
Katz, who has been in elected office for the better part of 30 years, said that in the two years since she became district attorney she has tackled drugs and guns.
“It’s about keeping your promises. I promised to get guns off the streets. We have thousands of gun prosecutions going on at the same time in my office. We promised to take gangs off the streets. We have taken down dozens of gang rings off the streets: crips, bloods,” she said.
Katz narrowly won her last election. After a drawn out recount, she won by 60 votes. She was most recently endorsed by Mayor Eric Adams.
In the same interview, Katz shot back at criticism of her tenure.
“You can always cherry pick the data to meet your political needs. Me, I do the job,” she said.
The Queens DA went on to highlight her work protecting homeowners from deed theft, helping local and helping local businesses. She said she would like to see a “risk component” added to bail laws.
“I think we should add some sort of risk to the community when it comes to securing it under bail reform. You know that with which you can hold a defendant before a trial,” she said.
The third competitor in the race is newcomer, Devian Daniels. The public defender is running on a platform emphasizing alternatives to incarceration.
“We’re spending $556,000 a year to incarcerate people on Riker’s Island. It’s not good for taxpayers, it’s not good for the community,” Daniels said.
Early voting is already underway and Primary Day is June 27. Ranked-choice voting will not be used in this primary.