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Mayor Sheehan Endorses Matt Toporowski For DA In Democratic Primary

A Toporowski lawn sign displayed outside an Albany residence.
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas
A Matt Toporowski lawn sign displayed outside an Albany residence.

Eleven days before the primary, Albany County district attorney candidate Matt Toporowski picked up two endorsements from two high-ranking area officials late Friday.

Credit WAMC photo by Dave Lucas
Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan on the steps of City Hall.

"We need to be fighting for justice for all. And I believe that Matt will bring that to this District Attorney's office, and I am proud to stand here and endorse him in his candidacy," said Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, appearingd outside city hall in support of Matt Toporowski, who is trying to defeat four-term DA David Soares in the Democratic primary. Sheehan says Toporowski has the boldness to change the system.

"A willingness to move things forward and be revolutionary. I think what we've learned over these last few weeks is that we can't chip away at it, we can't make incremental change. We have to make bold change. And, as I've watched this race for district attorney, I've seen a young man who has committed himself to bold change. He is a person who has committed himself to understanding that we are working in a criminal justice system. This is not just about police. This is about a system. And it's a sysyem that is getting results that continue to disproportionately impact those who are most vulnerable in our community."

Former longtime Albany Common Council President and current Albany County Legislator Carolyn McLaughlin joined Sheehan in endorsing Toporowski, making a veiled reference to Soares.

"We need to look around and see what are those things that we're most concerned about right now? They're the same things we were concerned about 16, 20 years ago. But I tell you, if I keep looking at you, asking you the same question and you're not giving me the answer that I'm looking for, it's time for me to look for somebody else."

Toporowski also picked up the endorsement of 11th ward Common Councilor Alfredo Balarin. Toporowski shared one of the planks of his platform.

"We need to address the systemic racism in our criminal justice system, that has failed us for too long. That has criminalized communities of color for too long. That has enabled the killings of people like George Floyd, of people like Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor. I plan to address structural racism here in Albany immediately, by listening to a well-respected, well-known criminal justice advocate and expert like Dr. Alice Green."

On Thursday, Green said her Center for Law and Justice does not back any political candidates.

"We do not, I do not, the center does not participate in partisan politcs. We're just concerned about the district attorney not seeing fit to engage in the dialogue that's taking place in the community."

Toporowski also promises to staff more lawyers of color if elected. He is also backed by Senator Bernie Sanders, Zephyr Teachout and musician John Legend. Soares did not respond to a request for comment from WAMC Friday.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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