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After deciding against his own run, state Assemblyman Steck endorses challenger to Albany County DA David Soares

Lee Kindlon and Assemblymember Phil Steck stand in front of the Albany County District Attorney’s Lodge Street office building, May 9, 2024.
Dave Lucas
Lee Kindlon and Assemblymember Phil Steck stand in front of the Albany County District Attorney’s Lodge Street office building, May 9, 2024.

Standing outside of Albany County District Attorney’s David Soares' Lodge Street office building, 110th district state Assemblymenber Phil Steck gave Lee Kindlon his endorsement today ahead of the June 25th Democratic primary.  

In February, Steck called on Albany County DA David Soares to resign, after it was reported Soares used state grant funding to give himself and staff members an 11 percent bonus in December.

"I think it shows very poor judgment and the idea that the district attorney would say I'm going to pay back the money or what in an argument for a defense attorney. If you're representing an embezzler, you'll say, 'well, gee, he'll just pay back the money and everything will be fine.' That's not how it works. This is a matter of principle," said Steck.

Steck had briefly considered his own bid for the post. 

Soares defended the $22,000 salary bonus he gave himself but ended up returning the money in April under pressure. "I stated emphatically that what we were dealing with here was a political hit. And I would return those dollars so that we wouldn't be distracted by the scandal," Soares said. 

Kindlon lost the 2012 race to Soares, who is now running for a sixth four-year term. Kindlon criticized the DA for not apologizing to the taxpayers of Albany County.

Soares lost the expected endorsement of the Albany County Democratic Party over the salary bonus issue but has kept his campaign going.

Meanwhile, Kindlon says he has secured several endorsements, including those of Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, Albany County Legislature Chair Joanne Cunningham and the progressive New York Working Families Party. He argues his background as a criminal defense attorney, practical knowledge of how the criminal justice system works and his network of contacts within that system will enable him to get more things done if elected as DA.

"We have to start putting, you know, more bad guys in jail. And, and finally cracking into the gun problem here in Albany," Kindlon said. "You know, there are real things that we need to start to worry about. Hire more prosecutors, provide a sense of leadership to the men and women who work in the District Attorney's Office, let them know I'm there on the front lines with them every day working. I'll be the first one here and the last one to go home. I mean, this is how you set down your intent, who you work for, when you say these are the problems we're going to solve, and this is how we're going to solve them. And again, you bring together not just the people who work upstairs who are fine, you know, hard working men and women, but also everybody else. The cops, the judges, the people in the community who were there looking to help reform and looking to give second chances to young men and women. These are the people I can sit down with at a table and say to just about all of them, ‘look, I've been where you are. And I understand what your concerns are. So let's all get this done.’"

Kindlon adds he "has no ego" and is ready to roll up his sleeves and work with officials, including County Sheriff Craig Apple, to proactively fight crime. He promises to create a Retail Crime Task Force and to "crack down on the gun pipeline in Albany County."

Soares’ campaign responded via email to WAMC saying "There is no value in an endorsement from a complete hypocrite like Phil Steck, who doubles down on ill-advised public safety policies that wreak havoc on our residents and businesses. Mr. Steck supports laws that allow teenagers to possess loaded firearms without consequences, and other laws that let shoplifters steal repeatedly. Considering that Mr. Steck has always endorsed my opponents, I too would like to thank him for his consistency as his track record in my races speaks for itself."

In response to Soares' statement, Steck's office tells WAMC "Mr. Soares is clearly desperate and trying to scare people with wild accusations that lack a basis in actual fact. No reasonable person would take the position that he is attributing to me. This is exactly why he should no longer be District Attorney."


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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