Brookhaven Town Councilwoman Valerie Cartright (D-Port Jefferson Station) announced her nomination for New York State Supreme Court justice in the 10th District, which covers both Nassau and Suffolk counties. She has been cross-endorsed by both parties, and is almost guaranteed a seat on the bench come November.
The slate of judicial nominees was made at the Democratic Party judicial convention earlier this month. Cartright made the announcement official.
“The principles of fairness and equality under the law have been the foundation on which I built my career —first as a trial attorney and then as a town councilwoman,” she said in a statement. “My experience as an attorney, a community advocate and a legislator drafting laws and policy with community involvement uniquely positions me for judgeship.”
Cartright has been the lone Democrat on the majority Republican Brookhaven Town Board for the past six-and-a-half years. She has also been the only person of color on that board in that same time.
Rich Schaffer, the Suffolk Democratic Committee chairman, said in a statement the committee was “proud to present this diverse slate of distinguished jurists that includes a candidate of Councilwoman Cartright’s caliber and experience.”
A number of nominees have been cross-endorsed by both major parties, and are almost guaranteed their seats. The Republicans had their judicial convention early this week. Cartright — along with Kathy Gail Bergmann, a Suffolk County Family Court judge; Tim Mazzei, state Supreme Court justice; and Derrick Robinson, an acting county court judge — have all been cross-endorsed. Justice seats are on a 14-year term.
Before running for town councilperson, Cartwright had spent years as a civil rights attorney at the Law Offices of Frederick K. Brewington. She also is an adjunct professor at St. Joseph’s College.
In the past few months, the councilwoman ran for the Democratic nod for the New York State Senate 1st District seat that has long been held by state Sen. Ken LaValle (R-Port Jefferson). She came in second place in that race with a vote tally of 6,569 compared to her Port Jeff opponent Laura Ahearn’s final number of 8,427 votes.
State Supreme Court nominees names will be on ballots come election time Nov. 3. If her seat is left vacant after that, the Brookhaven Town District 1 seat would need to be put up for vote in a special election to finish off the remaining three years of Cartright’s term.