Democrat comes forward to run for Ulster County District Attorney

KINGSTON, N.Y. — Democrat Jarrid Blades, a former Ulster County assistant district attorney who now works in the county Sheriff’s Office, announced Tuesday he will seek the Democratic line in the November race for District Attorney.

“My experience as a prosecutor and as a member of the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office has prepared me to effectively enact positive change in our community,” said Blades in a statement announcing his candidacy. “I am committed to holding violent offenders and those who threaten our community accountable. I am also committed to restorative justice, drug courts and mental health services. I believe that an innovative and fair legal system leads to a safe and secure county. In partnership with law enforcement and the community, we can get this done.”

Blades is the second candidate to announce his intention to run for the office now held by Democrat David Clegg.

Earlier this month, Michael Kavanagh, who served as chief assistant district attorney under former Ulster County District Attorney Holley Carnright, launched a second bid for the seat. In 2019, Kavanagh ran on the Republican line for the office, losing to Clegg by a margin of just 77 votes. Clegg became the first Democrat in recent memory to lead the county DA’s office.

Kavanagh has since left the GOP and is now not enrolled in any political party.

“I really believe that the DA’s office has to be apolitical, it can not be affiliated with any party’s interest,” Kavanagh said in an interview Tuesday. “Being non-enrolled, I’m trying to show that commitment.

“I’m open to any and all parties and that’s why I’m non-enrolled. I’m hoping for the support of everybody,” he added.

Clegg, who has been embattled for most of his tenure in office, said in an email that he will announce his plan for re-election on Monday.

Blades is an Ellenville native who graduated from Ellenville High School and holds a law degree from Syracuse University College of Law. From 2017 to 2019 Blades worked as an assistant district attorney in Ulster County where, according to his release, he prosecuted misdemeanor and felony cases in courts throughout the county, including nearly every local justice court, Kingston City Court, Ulster County Court and state Supreme Court. Blades prosecuted a wide array of cases involving narcotics, illegal and stolen firearms, arson, violent assaults, burglaries and domestic violence.

Since 2019, Blades has worked in the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office as the chief civil administrator and the commander of the Ulster Regional Gang Enforcement Narcotics Team, also known as URGENT.

Prior to joining the Ulster County District Attorney’s Office, Blades worked as an assistant district attorney in Monroe County as part of the local courts bureau, prosecuting cases, conducting legal research, drafting motions, negotiating case dispositions with defense attorneys, and preparing civilian and law enforcement witnesses for hearings and trials.

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