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.