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Madeline Singas plans to focus on gangs and drug, sex trafficking in next term

Democrat District Attorney Madeline Singas who is running

Democrat District Attorney Madeline Singas who is running against Republican Francis McQuade, giving her speech with her family on stage, to a large crowd at the Democratic Headquarters at the Garden City Hotel Tuesday Nov. 5, 2019. NOTE: She doesn't use the names of her family. Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas said she would focus in her second term on attacking crime associated with the MS-13 street gang, along with aggressive prosecution of trafficking in sex and drugs and addressing the root causes of the problems.

“We’re going to keep doing what we’re doing and collaborating with law enforcement,” Singas said in an interview Wednesday, after winning reelection Tuesday night.

“We’re going to partner to neutralize gangs and educate youth and continue anti-recruitment with gang intervention," said Singas, a Democrat. "We need to show there are alternatives to gang life."

However, "tomorrow, there might be another gang and we are ready to pivot to whatever group may arise,” she said.

Singas, 53, of Manhasset, beat Republican challenger Francis X. McQuade, a Long Beach attorney, by 60% to 40%, according to unofficial results from the Nassau County Board of Elections. 

"I was very happy with that number and I think it shows that in Nassau County, people were willing to cross party lines for an experienced prosecutor," Singas said. 

In 2015, then-Acting District Attorney Singas defeated former Town of Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray, a Republican, by 18 percentage points, after polls had predicted a near-dead heat. Murray was elected as Hempstead Town Clerk on Tuesday. 

McQuade, 65, who called Singas to concede late Tuesday night, said he had no regrets about the race.

"I wished her to continue the good work,” said McQuade, who said he plans to take a camping trip and rejoin his jazz group, in addition to continuing his criminal and civil rights law practice.

“I wish I had won," McQuade said. "But in a few days, with camping, music, sports, loving my family, I will be OK.”

Nassau Republican Committee chairman Joseph Cairo also congratulated Singas on her victory. "She earned it, the people spoke, and she earned that victory,” Cairo said.

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, a Democrat, also congratulated Singas on “a really big victory." 

"It just shows that the residents were impressed with … how she’s leading her office, helping make sure we’re maintaining these record low crime rates, fighting successfully against gangs, against opiates, and I’m looking forward to continuing to work with her.”

Singas said over the next four years she will put resources into youth outreach, drug treatment, and elder abuse prevention, as well as special victims and human trafficking cases.

She said she also will continue "to recruit the most experienced and ethical prosecutors" and investigate public corruption. 

The office has a $45 million budget.

“I think people realize I have the experience to continue doing the job,” Singas said. “I made promises four years ago and I kept those promises. We have very ethical, aggressive, tough prosecutors and the voters appreciate the fact I can resonate with them and what the community is going through."

Singas said she also plans to continue to fund the county's first 24-hour drug treatment center, which she opened in 2015 with asset forfeiture or money seized from criminal defendants. The New Hope Crisis Center in Freeport treats heroin and opioid addicts as soon as they arrive in an emergency room. Singas says she will continue to partner with Northwell Health to place volunteers in hospital emergency rooms.

“People are suffering and need assistance,” Singas said. “Education is a huge component and getting into schools and looking for signs of addiction, with treatment, education and enforcement.”

Referring to crime prevention programs, Singas said, "we don't see ourselves as only law enforcement without the balance on the other side."

During her campaign, Singas touted her work in helping to bring about a 25% drop in the county's crime rate over the past five years, and said she would work to bring the number down further.

"I think it can go lower," Singas said. "We have things in place that will do that." 

With Scott Eidler and Dandan Zou

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