Fulton County District Attorney Louise Sira said she will seek a third term in office in the November elections.
Sira said she doesn’t know if she will face any opposition for the district attorney job in either the Republican Party primary or the general election. She said if she does she hasn’t yet heard of the challenger. She said she still enjoys the challenging cases her office prosecutes each year.
“It’s an exciting time to be in the DA’s office. Many things we hadn’t thought of before have now been criminalized. There’s a push on elderly crime, identity theft and a lot of computer crime,” she said. “It’s exciting. It’s still very rewarding to work with victims and their families.”
Sira’s leadership role in the district attorney’s office dates back to 1996 when she was appointed first assistant district attorney, which made her the supervisor for the other assistant district attorneys. She was appointed Fulton County district attorney in 2002 by Gov. George Pataki to replace former District Attorney Polly Hoye, who had successfully run for county judge. She then earned her first term by election in 2003 and was re-elected in 2007.
The Fulton County district attorney is paid an annual salary of $119,000 per year.
Sira said she considers one of the highlights of her tenure to be the successful prosecution of Orlando Alvarez for the murder of 14-year-old Shauna Beekman. Alvarez was sentenced to 40 years to life in prison.
She said one of the challenging and frustrating aspects of the district attorney’s job is the continued war on illegal drugs. She said while the state and the federal governments have increased funding for law enforcement in urban areas to curb the drug trade, drugs and drug-related crime have seeped into rural areas like Fulton County.
She said the repeal of state mandatory minimum sentencing for drug offenders, the so-called Rockefeller Drug Laws, has also made the district attorney’s job more difficult.
“We have shrinking budgets and lower sentences, so fighting drugs continues to be a challenge for our county,” she said.
Categories: Schenectady County