State Assemblyman Tony Jordan announced Tuesday he will run for Washington County district attorney, saying he will continue his legislative duties this year while he runs but resign from the Assembly if he wins.
Jordan, who won re-election last fall to a third term as assemblyman representing parts of Washington and Saratoga counties, said he will run against District Attorney Kevin Kortright if Kortright seeks re-election to a third term. Both are Republicans.
Kortright did not return a phone call or email for comment Tuesday. He has not publicly stated whether he plans to run again.
Jordan, who was a Washington County assistant district attorney for 4-1/2 years before he ran for state Assembly in 2008, said he is motivated by a desire to serve the county and a belief the district attorney’s office needs major changes.
The Assembly redistricting left Jordan representing the southern half of Washington County along with part of Saratoga County. He said he has been looking for a way to go back to serving and representing the entire county.
If Jordan were to win the contest for district attorney, he would vacate his 113th Assembly District seat effective Dec. 31. That would set up a special election next year to fill the Assembly seat.
He said he has had concerns about the practices and policies of Kortright’s office, saying there is a lack of organization and a need for more “authority and accountability.”
Jordan said he has talked to district attorneys from around the state during his time in the Assembly to get ideas about what works.
He said he would structure the office as a “vertical prosecution” practice, so prosecutors could handle cases from their inception and keep others involved in the cases, such as police officers, apprised of developments.
“Gone are the days when police are finding out the night before or day of of a major suppression hearing in a case,” he said.
Jordan said he would also handle more town and village courts and work more closely with prosecutors from neighboring counties to address the region’s drug problems. He would revamp the felony prosecution system to make it less reliant on grand juries, which can be expensive, when cases can often be resolved without grand jury proceedings.
“I think we can do better coordinating with other district attorneys,” he said. “When we indict a case, it’s going to be ready for trial.”
Jordan, who maintains a part-time legal practice in addition to serving in the Assembly, said he would seek state funding to restore the position of victims advocate in the district attorney’s office.
Kortright’s office lost the position in 2009 when state grant funding was denied after insufficient paperwork was filed on the advocate’s caseload, and no appeal of the denial was sought.
The Warren and Saratoga counties district attorney’s offices both have multiple victims advocates, paid for by state grants.
Jordan said he would expand community-based programs, and plans to look into working with businesses in the county to create a mentoring program for at-risk youth.
Jordan said his work while he was an assistant district attorney in helping guide Washington County Court’s felony drug treatment court was “my most fulfilling professional experience.”
Jordan, 48, lives in Jackson with his wife, Wendy, and four children.
He left the district attorney’s office in 2007 when Kortright sought to expand his assistant district attorney position to full-time, a move that would have forced Jordan to close his private law practice, Jordan & Kelly LLC.
He said he has been talking in recent weeks to people around the county about a run for district attorney, and was encouraged by what he has heard.
“So far we’re hearing great feedback. We’ve gotten broad support,” he said. “It’s been a great early start.”
It was unclear Tuesday when the Washington County Republican Committee would meet to consider an endorsement. Committee Chairman John Patterson could not be reached Tuesday.