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New York Attorney General Letitia James announced last Friday that she is running for governor of the state for the Democratic Party. The prosecutor has been characterized by her media battles against the National Rifle Association (NRA) or her investigations against former Governor Andrew Cuomo.
“I’m running for Governor of New York because I have the experience, vision and courage to take on the powerful on behalf of all New Yorkers. Let’s do this together,” James stated on her official Twitter account.
She made the announcement with a video about her life. Specifically, she talks about her battles as a prosecutor, which include suing pharmaceutical companies over the opioid crisis and Republican President Donald Trump 76 times.
“I have sued the Trump administration 76 times,” she says in the video in which she also highlights the investigation conducted by the Attorney General’s Office into nursing home deaths during the pandemic.
James, 62, a former councilwoman and former ombudsman, enters a race in a Democratic primary where she will face 63-year-old Gov. Kathy Hochul, who took office last August after Cuomo resigned following a prosecutor’s investigation into sexual harassment allegations.
Who is Letitia James?
Letitia James was elected in 2013 as the New York City’s ombudsman, although her career in public office began a decade earlier. Upon graduating from Lehman College and Howard University School of Law, she began working as a public defender at the Legal Aid Society.
Later, starting in 1999, she was appointed the first Assistant Attorney General of the Brooklyn Regional Office of the New York State Attorney General’s Office, where she was concerned with “civil rights for minorities”.
Then, in 2003, she became a representative of the 35th District of the New York City Council for the Working Families Party (WFP), a post to which she was re-elected in 2005 and held for nearly a decade. Her tenure saw the passage of the Safe Housing Act, which required landlords “to improve living conditions for tenants in the city’s worst buildings.”
In June 2016, as part of her battle against the NRA, James attempted to pressure six financial institutions, including BB&T, Berkshire Bank, Citizens Financial Group, People’s United Bank, Regions Financial Corporation and TD Bank, to end their practice of providing financial services to gun manufacturers.
Following her tenure as NYC’s ombudsman, she assumed the position of state Attorney General in 2019, the first woman to be elected to that position. During her tenure, she not only investigated Governor Cuomo for claims of alleged sexual abuse, but also for his handling of the pandemic.
Cuomo resigned after James released the results of an investigation that found he had sexually harassed nearly a dozen women, including current and former female workers.
As Attorney General, James has also overseen an investigation of the Trump Organization, the company owned by former President Donald Trump and run by his two adult sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump. Likewise, she investigated the Trump Administration more than seventy times.
The former president said that James’ actions against him were a “witch hunt”.
Trump and Cuomo were not alone; James filed a lawsuit accusing NRA leaders of financial mismanagement, according to the AP, the latest in a series of regulatory actions that have delighted liberals but generated complaints from Republicans that she has unfairly used her office to attack political opponents.
During her campaign for New York Attorney General, James referred to the NRA as a “terrorist organization” with a “poisonous agenda” and a “directly unethical” purpose, and practically declared war on Americans’ right to freely bear arms for self-defense.
Although several people have accused James of using her office for political purposes, she has repeatedly denied it.