November 7, 2005

District Attorney: Vote for Gwen Wilkinson

Tomorrow we have a choice among candidates for District Attorney, and I'm delighted with Gwen Wilkinson. She wants to ensure that violent criminals of all kinds are prosecuted, and that even difficult cases get a close look. I like what I've heard about improving the efficiency of the DA's office, especially when I look at statistics about how Tompkins County's conviction rate compares to other counties.

Gwen Wilkinson
Gwen Wilkinson.

Wilkinson offers Tompkins County a chance to take much better advantage of drug court, a development that seem to be treated as ordinary most places, except in her opponent's writings. Her emphasis on breaking the cycles that cost our county tremendously - in victims, in jail costs, and in prosecution costs - makes much better sense to me than sending small-time criminals to prison to learn how to become better criminals, without addressing what brought them to crime. Wilkinson also seems to have a much clearer understanding of what last year's modifications of the Rockefeller Drug Laws accomplished.

It's also worth noting that running for office after years as a Department of Social Services lawyer is difficult. The cases are complicated and filled with heartbreak of all kinds, there's no public celebration of a victory, and you can't talk about what's happened, for good or bad. That's not a great jumpstart for a political career, and Wilkinson seems to me to have played by the rules of that job even where it meant she couldn't answer pointed questions.

Wilkinson's dedication to fighting crime has impressed me. I think Tompkins County has a chance to modernize its District Attorney's office, to come into the mainstream of crime-fighting approaches in New York State, to lower the cost of crime-fighting and to prosecute crime more effectively than it is today. Voting for Gwen Wilkinson tomorrow is a key first step.

Posted by simon at November 7, 2005 8:56 PM in
Note on photos