Thank you.

After consulting with my team, it appears that the current vote tally provides Manny Nneji an insurmountable lead in the race for Ulster County District Attorney. Therefore, we have asked the Board of Elections to cease counting any remaining outstanding absentee ballots and declare Mr. Nneji the winner.

I want to congratulate Manny and wish him the best of luck in leading the District Attorney’s Office forward. He has an excellent staff of young prosecutors who I believe will serve this county with distinction.

While we ultimately came up just short of our goal, I am very proud of my team and the campaign we ran. In a county where Democrat candidates enjoy a staggering advantage, we nearly accomplished what many thought impossible. My family is eternally grateful to the many remarkable people who provided support, encouragement, and assistance during this campaign. This race would not have been close without you.

Michael J. Kavanagh

Endorsement from D. Holley Carnright, Former Ulster County District Attorney

I have been asked my opinion who would best serve us as the next DA. So here it is.

I could not care less what political party a candidate is endorsed by. It has been my experience that political parties and PAC monies do little to educate the voters or to offer true insights regarding a candidate.

I have known and worked with both Michael Kavanagh and Emmanuel Nneji for literally their entire careers. I served as Chief Assistant District Attorney in the 1980s, Assistant Public Defender for 25 years and then more recently I served as your District Attorney.

It is no secret that the current administration has not been successful.

Emmanuel’s statement that if elected he will carry on Clegg’s “legacy” because “they are doing everything right”, in my judgment, displays a total and irreparable disconnect on his part as to what our community needs to restore confidence in the Criminal Justice System and therefore, I cannot support him.

I am not alone in this judgment. The list of retired members of the criminal justice community who have endorsed Mike, as well as the universal support from the men and women who currently serve us is unprecedented in today’s political landscape.

As the Law and Order prologue goes…

“In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups. The police who investigate crime and the District Attorneys who prosecute the offenders.”- Dick Wolf

I opine that the lack of support from the Law Enforcement community for Emmanuel is a harbinger of tough times ahead should he be elected.

Mike is 100% genuine. He is 100% honest. In this world we seldom find people who have his compassion for victims.

I wholeheartedly endorse Michael Kavanagh for District Attorney, 100% no hesitation.

– D. Holley Carnright, Former Ulster County District Attorney

A Statement from Mike Kavanagh on Outside PACs

I learned today [Oct. 26] that a conservative PAC, acting in response to the Soros PAC which has poured millions of dollars into DA across the country promoting an agenda, has placed an ad in the race for Ulster County district attorney.

These PACS act independent of the candidates, without any contact or input from the campaigns. Believe me, having fallen victim to Soros PAC four years ago, I understand the temptation to embrace this support. However, I remain forthright in my belief that no PAC, liberal or conservative, should attempt to interfere in local elections, certainly not in a race for district attorney.

The safety of Ulster County residents is at stake in this election and Ulster County should not be a test ground for any PAC or political party’s agenda. This is why I am running as a non-affiliated candidate. I believe that the voters of Ulster County are educated voters and do not need any outsourced money in this campaign to make the right choice.

– Michael Kavanagh Candidate, Ulster County District Attorney

Plans for the Ulster County District Attorney’s Office

The last four years have been a tumultuous time in the UCDA’s Office. There is no question significant change is needed. When elected, I will:

1. Bring back seasoned and dedicated prosecutors who left under the current administration and have approached me about returning. They will be able to successfully prosecute the most dangerous offenders, while training the less experienced, but very talented new ADAs who are currently working in the DA’s Office.

2. Establish an actual Restorative Justice Program which is currently non-existent. I will work with Judge Bryan Rounds to bring Restorative Justice to County Court, while utilizing the Restorative Justice program that is already in place, but under-utilized.

3. Create specific and clear protocols to ensure that every member of the DA’s Office understands what their roles are and what is expected of them. This will include strict discovery oversight and compliance, felony case review, case management and tracking, and a leadership committee that will report directly to me.

4. Restore relationships with local police agencies.

5. Partner with law enforcement to develop a Community Policing program. For communities to be safer, I believe that the relationship between law enforcement and citizens needs to be strong. They should be partnering to combat criminal activity, and to do that there needs to be trust. I believe Community Policing is a strong and effective way to build that trust which will result in safer neighborhoods.

6. Establish an Immigrant Affairs Bureau that will serve as an outreach program to our immigrant community designed to inform them that if they are victimized by criminal activity, they can report the crime without fear of consequences to their immigration status.

7. Develop a community outreach program by sponsoring meetings with local leadership to discuss the criminal justice issues that affect their specific communities and collaborate to find solutions.

8. Advocate for a Mental Health Court in Ulster County. The criminal justice system is currently ill-equipped to deal with offenders who suffer from mental health issues. Other jurisdictions have established Mental Health Courts and I believe, if properly implemented, they would be invaluable to Ulster County.

9. Prioritize a concerted and coordinated effort to combat the opioid epidemic by partnering with our government agencies, rehabilitation community, and law enforcement. This is a problem that cannot be fixed without multi-agency collaboration designed to effectively educate, empower, protect, and heal. The DA’s Office must distinguish between drug dealers who are preying on the vulnerable and those who commit non-violent offenses to support their addiction. The former must be prosecuted vigorously and the latter must be provided with treatment and empowered with the ability to regain their lives.

10. Protect our elderly population by partnering with local agencies to educate our seniors about scams and ways to protect themselves from those who would target them. This would be accomplished by once again assigning experienced ADAs to serve on committees dedicated to this purpose, a practice that has been abandoned for the last four years.

11. Create a District Attorney’s Office that Ulster County can be proud of.

– Mike Kavanagh, Independent Candidate for Ulster County District Attorney

Drillings: Kavanagh the Clear Choice for DA

The Hurley Democratic Committee recently posted an opinion that was derogatory of Michael Kavanagh and his feelings toward the Jewish People. My People. You see, my father was a Holocaust survivor of five concentration camps. My mother, an Israeli who did her service for the Israeli army in the 1950s, recently found out her cousin was slaughtered by Hamas in Israel. Every January, the Hon. Bryan Rounds calls on me to testify on Holocaust Remembrance Day about my family’s persecution. Each time I am called on to tell my family’s story, Michael Kavanagh, a dear friend, is always there for support.

After recent articles and letters about the Ulster County District Attorney’s Office election I thought it important for the public to know what working with Michael Kavanagh and Emmanuel Nneji was like.
Under Holley Carnright and his first assistant, Michael Kavanagh, there was leadership, training, hard work, camaraderie and justice. Every week we would have office meetings and there was always open door communication. Under David Clegg, Marco Caviglia, not Emmanuel Nneji, was David Clegg’s first choice to be second in command. There was no leadership, inexperienced attorneys were sent to court untrained, bickering and raised voices often occurred. I had to leave for my own mental health. Watching Michael Kavanagh do trials was a learning experience. Michael often appeared with younger assistants in court or had a senior assistant present. Anyone who comes to County Court as recent as today will still see unprepared assistant district attorneys’ appearing in court with little idea of what needs to be done and no guidance.

Many of the attorneys in the Ulster County District Attorney’s Office are wonderful people and lawyers who simply struggle with a lack of experienced leadership, communication and training. High-level felony charges have repeatedly been dismissed due to lack of timeliness, preparation or some other avoidable problem. Michael Kavanagh is a leader by example, a supervisor and an awesome human being.
As an Ulster County resident, a Democrat and a former employee of the Ulster County District Attorney’s Office, I will simply state that Michael Kavanagh is the man for the job. He is approachable and open to discussion. He is progressive and thoughtful. He is not a closed-minded prosecutor with blinders on for conviction, but someone unbiased, whose eyes are open towards an ever-changing criminal justice system.

– Joey Drillings, Esq.

Endorsement from Retired Ulster Police Detective William E. Moylan

I am writing to commend Michael Kavanagh and endorse him for the position of Ulster County District Attorney. Michael Kavanagh previously served as the Chief Assistant District Attorney at the Ulster County District Attorney’s Office from 2015 to 2020. During this time, Mr. Kavanagh’s dedication, expertise, and commitment to the pursuit of justice had a lasting impact on our community.

Michael Kavanagh is not only highly knowledgeable about the law, but he also demonstrates an unwavering passion for the cases he handles. His deep understanding of legal matters and his meticulous approach to each case have set a standard of excellence in our legal community.

One of Mr. Kavanagh’s exceptional qualities is his willingness to work closely with law enforcement and the victims in each case that he handles. He consistently goes above and beyond to provide guidance to Law Enforcement. Whether it is assisting in drafting search warrants or ensuring the precise wording of criminal charges in significant cases, Mr. Kavanagh’s expertise has proven invaluable.

What truly sets Michael Kavanagh apart is his approachability and dedication to the people he serves. His open-door policy makes it easy for individuals in our community to seek guidance and assistance, further reinforcing the trust and transparency in our justice system. Michael Kavanagh’s role as Chief ADA was highly instrumental in upholding justice within Ulster County. His legal prowess, genuine care for the cases he handles, and strong relationship with law enforcement make him a true asset to our community. We were fortunate to have such a dedicated and competent legal professional leading our prosecution team while he was in office.

Retired Ulster Police Detective William E. Moylan

Endorsement from Honorable Robert Vosper, Former Town Justice of Rosendale

I am writing this letter to endorse Michael Kavanagh for Ulster County’s next District Attorney.

Mike has served our community for well over 20 years as a prosecutor, private practice attorney, and recently at the Public Defenders office, which gives him a balanced perspective of our criminal justice system.

He is well aware of the issues that affect our community and the justice system. That awareness will give him insight, when dealing with those individuals who find themselves enmeshed in our criminal justice system.

Mike understands the underlying reasons people end up involved in our justice system. He was a member of the Ulster County Opioid Task Force and a former Chief of the Conviction Integrity Unit in the DA’s office, which reviewed convictions to see that the outcomes were just. The DA’s job is not to just convict individuals, but also to ensure that justice is served.

Mike also decided to run as an Independent not as a Republican so as to not muddle the DA’s office with political influences.

I had the privilege of serving the people of Rosendale as their Town Justice for over 24 yrs and Michael Kavanagh was a breath of fresh air whenever he appeared in my court, whether as the prosecutor or at the defense table.

The office of District Attorney is a serious position, so, when you enter the voting booth, and “pull that lever,” make sure it is for someone who will serve us well. And that person is Michael Kavanagh.

PS: I am a registered Democrat my whole adult life.

Endorsement from Retired Judge Joseph J. Traficanti

I was delighted to learn that Michael Kavanagh is again a candidate for District Attorney of Ulster County.
Mike is exceptionally qualified for this position which is so important to the citizens of Ulster County and
beyond. This conclusion is based on several important factors:

His experience as a prosecutor for nearly 20 years in indicting, charging and convicting some of the most
dangerous criminals in Ulster County speaks for itself. It’s importance goes beyond that, however. A
prosecutor in our system of justice is a “quasi-judicial officer”. The position requires carefully developed
evaluations on when to charge a crime (and when not to), what crime to charge and the ability to exercise
the mature, analytical and critical judgement to truly do justice—to always do justice objectively and without favor or rancor.

Mike has demonstrated over the years as a prosecutor, including his leadership role as chief assistant to
former DA Holley Carnright, that he qualifies to fill this professional mandate. He has shown good
judgement and foresight. Mike understands well that our democracy depends on the rule of law, requires
equal treatment for all, and never surrenders to the highest bidder. This requires integrity and
independence. Mike has exhibited both time and time again.

Michael’s qualities go beyond, however. He has addressed the harsh reality of domestic violence in striving for prevention, served on the Elder Abuse Task Force, advocated for a holistic approach to Mental Health and drug abuse issues, and, so importantly in these unpredictable days, school safety.

Accordingly, I take great pleasure in adding my whole-hearted endorsement of Michael Kavanagh’s
candidacy for Ulster County District Attorney.

Very truly yours,
Judge Joseph J. Traficanti (Retired)
Surrogate Court Judge of Ulster County and
Deputy Chief Administrative Judge, NYS

Endorsement from Former Town of Ulster Judge Marsha Weiss

Letter to the Editor and fellow Ulster County residents,

For 20 years, I served as Town Justice in the Town of Ulster. Before that, I was an Assistant District Attorney for 13 years. During those years, I had many opportunities to work with both candidates currently running for Ulster County District Attorney. It is with this background in mind that I offer my whole-hearted endorsement to Michael Kavanagh for DA.

Michael is an experienced attorney who appeared before me frequently in the Town of Ulster Court. At all times, he was a consummate professional, well- versed in the law and a powerful advocate for his clients. He exhibited intelligence, compassion and an understanding of the complex issues we struggle with in our criminal courts on a daily basis, including crimes involving alcohol and drug addiction and domestic violence.

There are several factors that I think are necessary to be a successful District Attorney. Foremost among these is leadership. Most DA’s offices are staffed by relatively new attorneys and the office serves as a training ground for future litigators. These young attorneys need guidance and support and it must come from the top down. Under the current administration, this critical element has been missing with the result that prosecutions have not been properly evaluated nor have they been pursued in a timely manner. When I was a young prosecutor in the DA’s office, Michael’s father, E. Michael Kavanagh, stressed training both for members of the office as well as the police agencies that serve Ulster County. It was not unusual for him to sit down with a prosecutor to review trial strategies and offer suggestions. I believe that Michael will be that kind of hands-on District Attorney and that he will forge a new office where his staff receives the guidance that it needs.

Another critical factor in choosing a District Attorney involves the candidate’s ability to work cooperatively with the various law enforcement agencies that serve Ulster County. A good working relationship between the DA’s office and the police community depends upon mutual trust and respect. To date, every police agency and/or union that endorses candidates has endorsed Michael over his adversary. Surely, this speaks highly of the esteem in which they hold him and their understanding that he is the right person to lead the prosecutor’s office.

Lastly, morale within the office is the final component for a successful DA’s office. When I was a member of the DA’s office, it was a great place to work. We all worked hard, we worked collaboratively and we were proud to be at the vanguard of the criminal justice system responsible for safeguarding our community. Under the current administration, morale has been abysmal. Defections from the office are rampant and chaos seems to rule. During my last three years as the Town of Ulster Justice, I was assigned no fewer than 10 different prosecutors. There was no continuity of justice and time was frequently lost as new prosecutors had to get up to speed on hundreds of cases. Motions to dismiss cases for failure to comply with the State’s speedy trial rules were commonplace. It was not unusual for the DA’s office to reduce felony charges to misdemeanors, where they could be dismissed without attracting unflattering attention from the media.

The current DA’s office is in crisis. Continuing the same administration with the old players will not resolve the issues that have plagued the office for the past four years. Michael Kavanagh offers leadership, integrity and an unwavering commitment to restore the DA’s office to one in which professionalism is the foundation and confidence in the justice system is the result.

Please vote for Michael Kavanagh in November!

Endorsement from New York State Troopers PBA

“The Police Benevolent Association of the New York State Troopers, Inc. is proud to announce the endorsement of Michael J. Kavanagh for election as Ulster County District Attorney.

It is with careful consideration that the NYSTPBA is endorsing Michael J. Kavanagh for election as Ulster County District Attorney. The NYSTPBA is confident that Michael J. Kavanagh is the best candidate for Ulster County District Attorney.

More than 7,000 active and retired, uniformed members of the New York State Police from the rank of Trooper through the rank of Major are represented by the NYSTPBA.”

Endorsement from James Sottile (D), Former Mayor of City of Kingston

It is with confidence that I offer my enthusiastic endorsement for Independent Candidate Michael Kavanagh in his bid for the position of Ulster County District Attorney. Having served as the Mayor of Kingston for ten years. I have had the privilege of working closely with the District Attorney’s office and law enforcement agencies, and I believe that Michael Kavanagh is exceptionally qualified for this vital role.

One of the standout qualifications that sets Michael apart is his extensive experience as an Assistant Public Defender. His time as an advocate for the defense has given him a unique and invaluable perspective on the criminal justice system. He has seen firsthand the complexities and challenges faced by individuals who come into contact with the legal system. This view point enables him to approach his role with empathy, fairness, and a deep understanding of the rights and needs of all members of our community.

During my tenure as Mayor, I had the opportunity to witness Michael’s dedication to justice and his unwavering commitment to upholding the principles of fairness and equality under the law. He consistently demonstrated a willingness to engage with the community and listen to the concerns of residents. This cooperative approach is essential for building trust between law enforcement and the community, a bond that is fundamental to effective crime prevention and public safety.

Furthermore, Michael’s ability to work with various stakeholders, including law enforcement agencies, defense attorneys, and community organizations, was evident in his role as Chief Assistant District Attorney. This collaborative spirit is a valuable asset that he will bring to the District Attorney’s office, where partnerships are essential for achieving positive outcomes in our community. I have no doubt that he will serve our community with integrity, fairness, and a deep commitment to upholding the law.

Please consider giving your support to Michael Kavanagh in the upcoming election. Our community deserves a District Attorney who is not only experienced and knowledgeable but also deeply invested in the well-being and safety of its residents. Michael Kavanagh is that candidate.


James Michael Sottile
Former Mayor of City of Kingston

Statement to Congregation Agudas Achim

Because I will not have the opportunity to express this in person tonight, I want to extend my heartfelt thoughts and prayers to the Jewish community who are experiencing unfathomable grief as a result of the cowardly and horrific terrorist acts of Hamas against the good people of Israel. Many of us recall in exacting detail the events of 9-11. I happened to be in Ireland with my family when the terrorists attacked us on our homeland. The Irish people suffered as though it was Ireland that was hit. Irish President Mary McAleese proclaimed in that moment that Ireland was the 51st American state, and grieved with us. I believe that in this moment, Israel is America’s 51st state, and this attack is the same as an attack on America. We stand with our brothers and sisters in Israel, and our hearts break with yours.

Mike Kavanagh

Local Donors Helped Us Outraise Our Opponent in Latest Campaign Filings

It’s gratifying that the overwhelming majority of the folks who contributed to our campaign come from Ulster County.  They live here, are raising their families here, have businesses here, and work here.  They want Mike to be our next DA because they love Ulster County and care deeply about its future.

While we deeply appreciate the support we’ve received from people who live in Ulster County we are mindful that four years ago PACS – political groups that had no connection to Ulster – flooded Ulster County with false and misleading ads in an attempt to influence the last election for DA, and could try to do it again in this election.

We cannot let that happen – the decision as to who should be our next District Attorney should be made by people who live here, and not by outside groups that care more about a political agenda than they do about the welfare of Ulster County.

Letter: Kavanagh is an Honorable Man

Thank you to Lucy Muller, of New Paltz, for supporting our campaign in a 10/3 letter to the Kingston Wire:

“He is one of the kindest, most honest and honorable of men… He is the most experienced of the two men running for DA and will make Ulster County a safer place for all of us.”

Endorsement from Matthew J. Parker (D), Former Village of Ellenville Justice

To the editor and citizens of Ulster County,

I am writing this letter to advise of my full endorsement of Michael Kavanagh for the office of Ulster County District Attorney.

As a Chief Assistant District Attorney Mike has prosecuted some of the most serious crimes in our county including murder, rape and domestic abusers. For over 20 years he has defended the victims of crime and provided a sense of closure to them while ensuring those guilty pay the price for their crimes.

Mike has also acted, recently, in private practice and the public defenders’ office, giving him a balanced perspective of the criminal justice system.

Mike has been an outspoken advocate for programs to address the opioid crisis which plagues our communities. He has served on the Countywide Opioid Taskforce, the Ulster County Opioid Taskforce and is currently serving on the advisory board of Hope Rocks, an organization dedicated to addiction awareness and suicide prevention. He is a strong supporter of the Ulster County Drug Court, Opioid Court and other alternatives to incarceration; to provide a path to recovery as I was.

Mike has also worked with the Ulster County service organizations, helping veterans to navigate the legal justice system.

Mike has a goal of implementing a Restorative Justice System Program to assist young offenders with the chance to work with professionals to better themselves and reduce recidivism without a criminal record.

Michael Kavanagh is running as an independent, not beholden to any political party or their influence. He has shown that he can prosecute those who would harm our communities to the fullest extent of the law while at the same time realizing there are those who need assistance to better their lives and ours.

For 28 years I served my community as a Judge. My court was one where the District Attorney’s office often sent their younger attorneys to learn the intricacies of the criminal justice system. I have experienced Mike on both sides of cases. I cannot more strongly endorse Michael. His leadership will once again restore the integrity of the office of District Attorney and once again focus on the protection of our county.

Matthew J. Parker
Former Village of Ellenville Justice

Statement on Ulster County Cares II Grant Audit

Almost two months ago, Ulster County Comptroller March Gallagher published an audit her office performed on Ulster County’s Cares II Small Business Assistance Program.  This program was initiated to provide financial assistance to small businesses struggling during the COVID crisis.  It was funded with $1,000,000 and administered by the Ulster County Economic Development Alliance (UCEDA).

The audit found, among other things, that:

1. More than half of those entities awarded grants were in fact ineligible.
2. Contractual requirements governing the implementation of the program were “either IGNORED or misinterpreted in the administration of the program and the ultimate announcement of grant awardees.”
3. The program requirements were either misunderstood or “INTENTIONALLY MISCOMMUNICATED” by the former President of the UCEDA who was charged with implementing the program.”
4. The submission of ineligible applications to the scoring was “… a serious oversight that compromises the integrity of the grant award process.”

These are serious findings and made no less so by the fact that the program was put on hold before any funds were expended. One must ask why the program requirements were not followed and why so many ineligible grant applications were approved for awards.

We are almost two months removed from the release of the audit findings and to date we have heard nothing from the District Attorney’s office. This audit demands an investigation to determine if the failures identified were the result of gross neglect or in fact criminally motivated.

Yet neither DA Clegg or his Chief Emmanuel Nneji have taken any action, nor even performed a preliminary investigation to determine if there is something untoward going on here. That office has an obligation to investigate findings like those contained in the Comptroller’s audit.  If criminality is found, responsible individuals should be held to account.  If not, the public should be advised accordingly, and by that action help to restore public confidence “in the integrity of the grant award process”.

March Gallagher has demonstrated her commitment to keeping the Comptroller’s office an independent and apolitical agency.  The public deserves the same from the DA’s Office.  

Michael Kavanagh
Independent Candidate for Ulster County DA

New York State Police Investigators Association Endorses Mike Kavanagh

Mike Kavanagh, an independent voter running for Ulster County District Attorney, has earned the endorsement of the New York State Police Investigators Association.

In an endorsement letter, NYSPIA President Timothy M. Dymond writes, “During your many years spent practicing law through time spent as an Assistant Public Defender and Chief Assistant District Attorney, you have proven to have the energy, ability and knowledge necessary to continue leading the Ulster County District Attorney’s office. You are steadfast in your commitment to promoting justice for victims and helping to deter violent crime. You have worked closely with our membership on a number of difficult felony cases and have built a level of trust with them that you will get the job done.”

View the full endorsement letter:

Police Chiefs Association of Ulster County Endorses Kavanagh for DA

Mike Kavanagh, an independent voter running for Ulster County District Attorney, has earned the endorsement of the Police Chiefs Association of Ulster County.

The endorsement marks the sixth announced endorsement from a law enforcement-related organization in Ulster County in this election contest; all six have been for Mr. Kavanagh.

In the endorsement, PCAUC President Scott Schaffrick (Chief of Police of the Town of Rosendale), writes, “…it has been our honor to have worked and served with both candidates seeking the position of Ulster County District Attorney… each candidate has served in the position of Chief Assistant District Attorney and have an extensive history of criminal prosecution.”

“However, as the District Attorney, one must lead the agency by example, maintain accountability for the agency, and provide a team dedicated to our communities. It is based upon these traits… that the Police Chiefs of Ulster County are endorsing Michael Kavanagh to represent the people of Ulster County as our District Attorney.”

Michael Kavanagh Interviewed by Cameron Rylance & Taylor Bruck on KCR

On May 30, Mike Kavanagh appeared on Cameron Rylance & Taylor Bruck’s weekly show on Kingston Community Radio. Here are some of the things they talked about:

Why is Mike Running?

“The work is what attracts me, the service. When you have a major case, it’s remarkable the impact it has on the victims and their families’ lives. You make a difference to people, and that’s what attracts me to the job.”

How Can We Make Ulster County Better?

“COVID is no longer the emergency it was just a couple of weeks ago. I really think we need to bring the opioid crisis back in. I think the DA’s office in its prosecutions should be victim-focused. I think the DA’s office should be here to serve the community and stand for victims. I don’t necessarily believe that’s the case right now.”

What Do We Do About the Opioid Crisis?

“What we’re doing are things like drug court and opioid court. Where if somebody gets arrested for a drug-related offense, it’s non-violent, the system gives them an opportunity to go through a very regimented and difficult probationary period.”

Thoughts on Community Policing

“I’m a big proponent of community policing. Getting the police out in the community and interacting with people, you have the opportunity for witnesses to come forward. You have to have trust built.”

Experience Under Holley Carnright

“I was his chief assistant for four years, and I was in the office for almost nine. I’ve worked with him a lot, and he gave me tremendous discretion. I was responsible for some of the most serious cases that came in.”

Meeting the Challenge of New Discovery Rules

“I think all offices have struggled a little with that. I think others have struggled significantly. I’ll leave it to others to decide… the state has given the District Attorney’s office over $760,000 to hire personnel to deal with discovery.”

Restoring Confidence in the Criminal Justice System

“People are afraid to come forward. Part of my goal is to restore confidence in the criminal justice system.”

Restorative Justice in the County Court

“Any time somebody comes into the criminal justice system and they’re accused of a crime. If they can leave in a better position than when they entered, then the system is working.”

Independence as a District Attorney

“I think it’s really important being non-affiliated. I think that office should be independent, and should not be influenced by politics at all.”

Grassroots Effort Secures Independent Line on Ballot for Ulster County District Attorney Race

Ulster County, June 6 — Mike Kavanagh, a dedicated independent running for Ulster County District Attorney, has achieved a significant milestone in his campaign. Despite already appearing on the ballot as a Republican candidate, Kavanagh’s campaign has successfully acquired enough signatures to secure a second line with the Libertarian Party. The campaign’s grassroots army of volunteers collected an impressive total of over 1,700 signatures from Ulster County voters.

In a statement regarding this achievement, Mike Kavanagh, who is not enrolled in any political party, expressed gratitude for the remarkable effort exhibited by his team of supporters.

“This was a Herculean effort – and quite remarkable given the obstacles put in place by the powers that be in Albany designed to keep truly independent candidates off the ballot,” he said. “To qualify for the ballot, the campaign needed a minimum of 1,500 signatures from Ulster County residents supporting my candidacy, surpassing the requirement of 1,000 that applies to the Democrat and Republican parties.”

The success of this petition drive is a testament to the belief held by the diverse group of signatories, who come from various political backgrounds and persuasions, unified in their desire for a District Attorney who is truly independent, devoid of any allegiance to political bosses or parties.

Kavanagh emphasized his commitment to independence, stating, “I am not enrolled in any political party because I strongly believe that the District Attorney should not be involved in partisan politics. I am the only candidate for District Attorney who is truly independent, not beholden to any politician or political entity. If elected, my sole commitment will be to the law-abiding people of Ulster County.”

Kavanagh firmly believes that playing politics with people’s lives or public safety is unacceptable.

With this significant accomplishment, Kavanagh’s campaign gains even greater momentum as they prepare to offer voters a distinct choice for the position of District Attorney.

Kavanagh for DA Interview with Rita Vanacore

Last week, Mike Kavanagh appeared on Planet Seniors with host Rita Vanacore to discuss various issues related to his campaign.

Here are some of the things they discussed:

Mike’s Background and Work Experience

“I currently am a civil attorney, but I do some criminal defense for Mainetti & Mainetti. I also work part-time with the Ulster County Public Defender’s Office, where I represent indigent clients who are accused of committing crimes.”

What’s Different Between Now and Four Years Ago?

“It was a slim margin… what’s different now is what has transpired in the last three years at the DA’s office. After last time, if you had asked me if I was going to run again, I would’ve said you’re crazy, there was no shot. I had no interest in going through that again. The theme is going to be independence, and the fact the District Attorney’s office should be an apolitical position.”

How does politician affiliation affect voters?

“A lot of people look to their parties for their beliefs, as opposed to forming their own beliefs, and establishing what they think is right in their mind and holding those views.”

How can you add to public safety and wellbeing?

“Talking specifically about the District Attorney’s Office, the public has to have confidence in the criminal justice system. Having a competent office that’s responsive to the public needs is crucial. I believe very strongly that there needs to be a good relationship with law enforcement. It needs to be separate, but there needs to be a good relationship and good communication.”

Why is experience important for a district attorney?

“Anytime you’re looking to be promoted to a position, you need to have the requisite experience to do the job effectively.”

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A Call for Volunteers

The Kavanagh for Ulster County District Attorney campaign needs your help to get an additional line on the ballot. All we need are for registered voters in Ulster County, of any affiliation, to sign and date our petitions within the next week. 

It’s fast and easy, and even if you can get five signatures, that will be a huge help to the campaign.

To get petitions and instructions on what to do, either:

Email Diana Spada ( or call 845-383-1950.

Or visit 239 Fair Street, Kingston NY during business hours and ask for Maryann.

A Statement on the Kingston High School Cafeteria Attack

Last Wednesday, a 15-year old Kingston High School student was attacked and beaten by two other students. This assault was perpetrated in front of 300 other students and captured on video. The victim was rendered unconscious and suffered seizures from a traumatic brain injury. He was airlifted to Westchester Medical Center where he, according to reports, underwent brain surgery to relieve bleeding and pressure on his brain.

More than 24 hours after the incident, when the Ulster County District Attorney’s office finally responded, the DA stated, “We hear, and it’s hopeful, that the victim wasn’t terribly harmed,” but had suffered a “serious head injury of some sort,”  adding, “We have to determine where the case is going.” The DA’s Office was also unable to predict when the suspects might be arrested.

As a parent with a child in high school, this response from the DA’s office is deeply concerning. It is hard to imagine the degree of disconnect between the current office and the concerns of the citizens of Ulster County.  

This situation demands strong leadership and decisive action. There is no excuse, based upon the information available to the public, why charges have not been authorized by the DA’s Office. The public must be instilled with confidence in the criminal justice system.  My heart goes out to that student, his family, and every parent who has a child in school.  They deserve better.

– Mike Kavanagh, Candidate for Ulster County District Attorney

Letter: Mike Kavanagh’s Independence Makes Him Best Choice for DA

To the Editor: There are a lot of reasons to be disenchanted with both the Republican and Democrat parties.

Trump vs. Biden, mass shootings and no progress on gun control. Rampant inflation and the national deficit.
It’s not hard to come up with a dozen reasons to turn away from politics but none of these are the issues that relate to the Ulster County District Attorney race.

This is why Mike Kavanagh is an independent. Mike has all the qualities of a good district attorney.

He has two decades of experience as both a successful prosecutor and defense attorney, he is an excellent civil attorney and he has practiced in Family Court. He has been on the elder abuse task force, the county opioids task force and the Ulster County animal abuse bureau, and has been a supervising attorney for the Ulster County DA’s Office domestic violence prosecutorial team.

It’s time we change the direction of the Ulster County District Attorney’s Office. Many experienced attorneys have left that department. Cases have been thrown out due to errors and mishandling.

Mike Kavanagh must be elected to restore fair justice, and safety in our community.
Please support Mike for Ulster County District Attorney!

Bruce Tuchman, Saugerties

Election time is here

It is time to begin electioneering again and I want to endorse Michael J. Kavanagh for Ulster County District Attorney. I have known Mr. Kavanagh for ten years and he is one of the finest people I have ever known. Not only is he a brilliant lawyer, but a very honest one. I met him when I went to the animal abuse cases prosecuted by Holley Carnright’s district attorney’s office in 2013. Mike became the chief assistant DA and managed to bring to justice five horrible, cruel men who killed animals for spite. After that, other DAs from all over our state called the office to ask for help and ideas. Our present DA may be a nice man, but he doesn’t come close to Mike’s experience. We have had a mess out of that office for the past three years. For the benefit of all the victims of crime, we need to put party politics aside and vote for the best person.

Lucy Muller, New Paltz

Hudson Valley One, March 1, 2023

Kavanagh to run for Ulster DA

“Attorney Mike Kavanagh announced Saturday that he will run for Ulster County District Attorney, a position once held by his father.

“Today, I am proud to announce my candidacy to be Ulster County’s next District Attorney,” Kavanagh said in a press release. “It is with an acute understanding of the challenges presented by this position I pledge to use my experience to make the Ulster County District Attorney’s Office one we can all be proud of.

Kavanagh vowed that the public will be served by professional prosecutors dedicated to protecting this community in a collaborative effort with local police to hold violent offenders accountable for their crimes. It will also partner with local and state government agencies to utilize every responsible program and resource available to offer rehabilitative services to nonviolent offenders who do not pose an immediate threat to the community, while taking every reasonable and lawful measure to assure that violent recidivists are prosecuted fully.

“Now more than ever, the next District Attorney must have the requisite experience to navigate the challenges of the criminal justice system. Ulster County cannot endure another four years of what has transpired under the current District Attorney. Restoring the District Attorney’s Office will require an experienced prosecutor who has served that office and this community at the highest level.

“As someone who has been a prosecutor for almost twenty years, as well as a defense attorney and current member of the Ulster County Public Defender’s Office, I am uniquely qualified for this position.

Southern Ulster Times, January 11, 2023