Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), who is currently running for governor of New York, has revealed that he is considering declaring a state of emergency regarding crime in an effort to fix the state’s bail reform laws if he were to become governor.
Speaking with the New York Post, the Republican candidate noted that this idea is “not plan A,” as he would rather have lawmakers within the state repeal the statutes.
“One of the items … I would be consulting with counsel on is the option of declaring an emergency on crime where the cashless bail law can be suspended — but that is not plan A,” Zeldin told the outlet.
“The problem with an [executive order] is that when the next governor comes in, they can get rid of it. I believe that the law needs to change,” he added.
Zeldin has been focusing a lot of his campaign on New York City’s skyrocketing crime problem. He has released multiple campaign ads targeting the issue, and attacking Gov. Kathy Hochul for her inaction.
🚨Just released our new ad, “REPEAL Cashless Bail!", now airing digitally statewide. Just this summer alone, there have been A LOT of high profile cases of suspects released under cashless bail. We have to FIRE Kathy Hochul on 11/8, repeal cashless bail, & secure our streets. pic.twitter.com/KCz80FPzgG
— Lee Zeldin (@leezeldin) July 27, 2022
New York passed its sweeping bail reform law in 2019, which prohibited cash bail for all but the most serious misdemeanors and felonies. The City Journal reports that “bail reform was followed by a significant increase in criminal reoffending,” according to recent data from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS).
Zeldin has experienced the rise in violence in his state firsthand, as during one of his campaign events, a man attacked him with a weapon. Footage of the incident showed the Republican blocking the first thrust of the weapon before his attacker was tackled. Shockingly, the suspect was released without bail the next day.
INSANE: Rep. Lee Zeldin's attacker, who told him "you're done" before trying to stab him in the neck, has already been released back into society, without bail.
No attempted murder charge????
— Alana Mastrangelo (@ARmastrangelo) July 22, 2022
During his interview with the Post, Zeldin also argued that he would actually have a good working relationship with New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D), who has been a critic of the state’s bail reform. The Republican noted that he and Adams served in the state Senate together.
“I think he’s an important ally in the efforts to overhaul cashless bail in New York. He is not getting the support he needs to be able to save this city,” Zeldin asserted. “We served together in the state Senate for four years. We stayed in touch afterwards … Our interactions through the years have always been positive.”
Despite the fact that Adams has endorsed Zeldin’s Democrat opponent, Zeldin claimed: “I believe the story that will be written in 2023 is about how Governor Zeldin is working with Mayor Adams to save the city.”