Nassau District Attorney-elect Madeline Singas returned to work at the DA's Mineola office Wednesday, hours after her election night victory, vowing to uphold her campaign's loudest pledge of fighting public corruption.
"We need to get to the bottom of pay-to-play politics here in Nassau County, that's absolutely a priority," said Singas of her expectations for her first elected term.
Singas, who has served as acting Nassau DA since January, defeated Republican Kate Murray Tuesday night -- 57.9 percent to 42.0 percent, according to the Nassau County Board of Elections. Singas made battling corruption a key focus of her campaign after the arrest of Sen. Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) on federal corruption charges.
During the campaign, Singas said if elected she would expand a review of the county's contracting system that her office conducted in April, to include towns and cities in an effort to "expose vulnerabilities to corruption" when it comes to municipalities awarding millions of dollars in taxpayer-funded contracts.
She said Wednesday that while corruption cases can take months to build, her office remained committed to launching such probes in the wake of Skelos' arrest and last month's arrest of Oyster Bay contractor Harendra Singh on federal bribery charges.
Asked if she planned any leadership changes to the office and staff she inherited from predecessor Kathleen Rice, who stepped down after being elected to Congress last year, Singas said she was "honored" to be part of Rice's legacy. But added she was "eager to get to work and forge my own path."
"We have an office of seasoned and dedicated and very experienced prosecutors that I'm privileged to work with every day, and that will continue, but there's new challenges every day and I'm looking forward to going to new places," Singas said.
Singas, who served as a prosecutor in Queens and Nassau for the past 24 years, said her office would "do everything we can to make sure we stop" the rising number of heroin abusers and would continue to work with local and federal law-enforcement agencies to curb gun violence. "We have to keep up our enforcement efforts and keep our communities and our families safe," Singas said.
Murray's postelection plans, after 12 years at the helm of Hempstead Town, remain unclear. She did not return calls for an interview Wednesday.
In her election night concession speech, Murray said she would never "regret this campaign."
"When you're in a tight race, you see who your friends are and, my goodness, I never knew I had so many friends," Murray said. With Paul LaRocco