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Kathleen Rice

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Kathleen Rice

Kathleen Rice
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 4th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2015
Preceded by Carolyn McCarthy
District Attorney of Nassau County
In office
January 1, 2006 – January 3, 2015
Preceded by Denis Dillon
Succeeded by Madeline Singas
Personal details
Born Kathleen Maura Rice
(1965-02-15) February 15, 1965
New York City, New York
Political party Democratic
Residence Garden City, New York
Alma mater Catholic University (B.A.)
Touro Law Center (J.D.)
Profession Lawyer
Religion Roman Catholic
Website District Attorney Website Campaign Website

Kathleen Maura Rice (born February 15, 1965) is the United States Representative for New York's 4th congressional district. She is a member of the Democratic Party.

Prior to serving in Congress, she served as Nassau County District Attorney, and, prior to that, she served as a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Philadelphia and as an assistant district attorney in the Kings County District Attorney’s Office in New York City.

Rice announced on January 29, 2014, that she would run for Congress in 2014 in New York's 4th congressional district to replace retiring Democratic incumbent Carolyn McCarthy.[1] Rice won the election over Republican Bruce Blakeman on November 4, 2014[2] and took office in January 2015.


  • Early life, education, and career 1
  • Nassau County District Attorney 2
    • Tenure and issues 2.1
  • 2010 Attorney General campaign 3
  • President of DAASNY 4
  • U.S. House of Representatives 5
    • 2014 election 5.1
    • Committee assignments 5.2
  • Electoral history 6
    • 2005 election 6.1
    • 2009 re-election 6.2
    • 2010 Attorney General Democratic Primary 6.3
    • 2013 re-election 6.4
    • Election results 6.5
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Early life, education, and career

Rice was born in Manhattan, New York to Laurence and Christine Rice. She grew up in Garden City, on Long Island, as one of 10 siblings. Rice graduated from Garden City High School. She received a B.A. from The Catholic University in 1987 and a J.D. from The Touro Law Center in 1991.[3]

Rice began her career as an assistant district attorney in the Kings County District Attorney’s Office, under District Attorney Charles Hynes in 1992. She prosecuted cases involving burglaries, robberies and sexual assaults and was the first member of her class to be promoted to the homicide bureau.

In 1999, Rice was appointed assistant United States Attorney in Philadelphia by then-Attorney General Janet Reno. As a federal prosecutor, she prosecuted white-collar crimes, corporate fraud, gun and drug cases, and public corruption.[4]

Nassau County District Attorney

Rice was elected Nassau County District Attorney in 2005, winning by 7,500 votes to become the first female to hold the position. She defeated 31-year incumbent Denis Dillon, who had generally won reelection easily, even after switching his affiliation from Democratic to Republican in 1989. Rice was the first serious opponent that Dillon had faced since his first run in 1974.[5]

Rice was re-elected in 2009 and 2013.

Tenure and issues

Drunken and drugged driving

In 2006, Rice, the "state's toughest DWI prosecutor,"[6] declared her first major policy initiative to be an “assault on the drunk driving epidemic.” She lowered the blood-alcohol level at which you could take a plea bargain,[7] supported Leandra’s Law, and charged some drunk drivers who killed their victims with murder.[8]

Reform efforts

In September 2011, Rice’s office arrested seven students after uncovering an SAT cheating ring on Long Island.[9] When this case led to the discovery of a wider-spread cheating scandal, Rice worked with the College Board, who administers the test, to update security standards to halt cheating in the future. This effort sparked other test administrators, like that which gives the ACT, to update their standards as well.[10]

Rice has also received credit for teen education programs geared towards cyber bullying, drug use, sexting and dangerous driving.[11][12][13]

In 2007, Rice’s office, Nassau County and Hempstead (village) police led a counter-assault on Terrace Avenue, a major drug haven and crime-ridden street in Long Island’s Hempstead Village. Through a combination of zero-tolerance enforcement for repeat and violent offenders, and social-service based jail diversion for nonviolent and first time offenders, crime has been reduced in the area.[14]

In 2008, following the trampling death of a Walmart employee at one of the retailer’s Black Friday sales events, Rice encouraged Walmart to upgrade its security protocols at its nearly 100 New York stores.[15]

In 2012, Rice came out in favor of decriminalizing small amounts of “plain view” marijuana.[16] Rice has also supported efforts to allow some citizens to seal prior low-level, non-violent convictions in the hopes of improving their chances of obtaining employment.[17]

Rice was chosen by Governor Andrew Cuomo to be a member of the Moreland Commission on Utility Storm Preparation and Response, a panel tasked with investigating the failures of the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) following Hurricane Sandy of October 2012. The panel recommended that LIPA be replaced by a private, investor-owned company and that the Public Service Commission, which has regulation authority, be given more power to penalize and fine poor-performing utility companies.

Rice supports the “Raise the Age NY” initiative to treat non-violent teen offenders as juveniles in the criminal justice system.[18]

Guns, gangs, and violent crime

Rice implemented gun buy-back programs in some of the county’s most crime-plagued areas, which removed more than 2,000 guns from the streets.[19] She also spoke out in favor of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s gun control legislation,[20] and she created the office’s first ever gun prosecution unit.[21] Rice announced in early 2011 a major prosecution of 9 gun dealers and gun store employees arrested by police in an undercover operation investigating alleged illegal assault weapons.[22] This was the second arrest for Martin Tretola, one of the gunshop owners. He was previously arrested on firearms related violations in 2007. Subsequently, in 2012, a federal jury delivered a verdict rejecting the charges of Nassau County and District Attorney Rice for the 2007 arrest and awarded Tretola 3 million dollars in compensatory damages and 2 million dollars in punitive damages.[23] This judgment was later reduced to 1.3 million dollars in total upon appeal.[24]

Questions on Rice’s early prosecution cases

The Kings County district attorney’s prosecution of Antowine Butts for double homicide imploded and ended in an acquittal in 2000, but not before Butts spent two years in a Rikers Island jail cell. After the case unraveled, Butts alleged that he was a victim of prosecutorial misconduct in a civil rights lawsuit that was settled with New York City.

Among those named in that suit: Kathleen Rice, the architect of the case against Butts. Despite that high profile, Rice has largely escaped attention — including during the current campaign — for starting her career in an office in which prosecutors are alleged to have put some innocent people behind bars with coerced confessions, bogus witness statements, coached lineup identifications and other tactics.[25]

In April 2013, Rice announced the arrest of 18 members of the “Rollin’ 60’s” gang, an “ultra-violent” subset of the Crips. Rice charged these defendants with crimes ranging from attempted murder of a police officer, to assault and robbery, to gun and drug sales.[26]

Public corruption

Among those Rice has charged and convicted of corruption include a deputy police commissioner,[27] a Long Beach City Council member,[28] former Nassau County legislators,[29] and several town building department employees.[30]

In July 2013, Kathleen Rice was appointed by Governor Cuomo to be one of three co-chairs of the Moreland Commission on Public Corruption. The work of the commission is currently ongoing.[31]

Rice formed Nassau’s first-ever Medicaid and public assistance fraud unit, which has since secured millions of dollars in restitution for Nassau taxpayers.[32]

DA's Office gender pay gap and part-time employees

Rice has reformed the recruiting, hiring and promotional practices of her office. She eliminated a gender pay gap that had previously been greater than 30%. Rice developed an aimed at offering flex-and part-time work schedules to those needing to care for a family member or a personal situation. Half of the attorneys and management in Rice’s office are women.[33]

Jesse Friedman case

In 2010, Rice ordered the review of a 1987 case in which Arnold Friedman and his son, Jesse, pleaded guilty to sexually abusing young boys in their Great Neck, Long Island home. Rice formed a panel of outside experts – including the Innocence Project’s Barry Scheck – to examine whether or not Jesse Friedman had wrongfully confessed. In a 172-page report released in July 2013, investigators found that Friedman had not been wrongfully convicted.[34]

2010 Attorney General campaign

In May 2010, Rice announced that she would seek the Democratic nomination for New York State Attorney General. The race pitted Rice against four Democratic opponents: then-State Senator Eric Schneiderman, former prosecutor Sean Coffey, former State Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, and former insurance commissioner Eric Dinallo. Though originally considered a long shot, Rice would narrowly lose the five-way primary to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, 34% to 32%.[35]

President of DAASNY

In July 2013, Rice was inducted as President of the District Attorneys Association of the State of New York (DAASNY).[36]

U.S. House of Representatives

2014 election

In June, 2014, Rice won the Democratic primary election for U.S. House of Representatives in New York's fourth congressional district, defeating Nassau County Legislator Kevan Abrahams 56%-44%.[37]

In November 2014, Rice was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in New York's fourth congressional district, defeating Republican candidate Bruce Blakeman 53%-47%.[38]

Committee assignments

Electoral history

2005 election

In 2005, Kathleen Rice returned home to Nassau County and declared her candidacy for District Attorney on the Democratic line. Rice challenged 30-year incumbent DA Denis Dillon. Throughout the campaign, Rice provided an alternative to Dillon, pledging to cut plea bargaining and touting her would-be zero tolerance policy for drunk driving. Rice also committed herself to modernizing the office’s approach to domestic violence and crimes of sexual abuse. Rice edged out Dillon 51%–49% in the November election.[40]

2009 re-election

In 2009, Rice was challenged by Law Clerk Joy Watson. Rice defeated Watson 54%–46%.

2010 Attorney General Democratic Primary

In 2010, Rice ran for Attorney General of the State of New York in the Democratic Primary.

2013 re-election

In 2013, Rice was challenged by Law Secretary Howard Sturim. Rice defeated Sturim 59%–41%.

Election results

2014 U.S. House of Representatives (NY-04) General Election[39]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Kathleen Rice 85,294 52.66
Republican Bruce Blakeman 76,515 47.24
Total votes 161,976 100
2005 Nassau County District Attorney General Election[41]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Kathleen Rice 151,819 51.35
Republican Denis Dillon (incumbent) 143,827 48.65
Total votes 295,646 100
2009 Nassau County District Attorney General Election[42]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Kathleen Rice (incumbent) 129,508 54.2
Republican Joy Watson 109,526 45.8
Total votes 239,034 100
2010 New York State Attorney General Democratic Primary[43]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Eric T. Schneiderman 227,203 34.36
Democratic Kathleen Rice 210,726 31.87
Democratic Sean Coffey 108,185 16.36
Democratic Richard L. Brodsky 65,683 9.93
Democratic Eric R. Dinallo 49,499 7.49
Total votes 661,296 100
2013 Nassau County District Attorney General Election[44]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Kathleen Rice (incumbent) 164,805 58.88
Republican Howard Sturim 114,993 41.08
Total votes 279,888 100


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Kathleen Rice". Nassau County Democrats. 
  4. ^ "Alumni of the Month Program, Kathleen Rice". Touro Law Center. May 2008. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ "'"Nassau County District Attorney Rice joins fight for 'Leandra's Law. New York Daily News. November 14, 2009. 
  7. ^ "A Harder Line on Driving While Drunk". The New York Times. March 14, 2006. 
  8. ^ "A NEW DA IN TOWN Hillary to swear in Kathleen Rice in Nassau". New York Daily News. January 8, 2006. 
  9. ^ "SAT Cheating Ring Busted, Seven Students Arrested". ABC News. September 27, 2011. 
  10. ^ "New SAT Security Changes After N.Y. Cheating Ring". ABC News. March 27, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Nassau County DA Attacks Cyber Crime". FiOs1. July 25, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Heroin Prevention PSA". Nassau County District Attorney. 
  13. ^ "DWI Education Program at Local Schools". Anton News. February 26, 2010. 
  14. ^ "Street Known for Drug Crime Is Getting Clean". The New York Times. January 14, 2009. 
  15. ^ "Wal-Mart pays $2M to avoid charges in death probe". USA Today. May 6, 2009. 
  16. ^ "Cuomo's Plan To Decriminalize Weed In "Public View" Has Support Of Pretty Much Everyone". The Village Voice. June 4, 2012. 
  17. ^ "Debate over sealing records on old crimes". Newsday. June 4, 2012. 
  18. ^ "Advocates to state: Don't prosecute 16-, 17-year olds as adults". Newsday. August 20, 2013. 
  19. ^ "DA Rice and County Executive Mangano Announce Gun Buyback Event" [news release]. Nassau County, NY official website. January 30, 2013. The statistic for number of guns taken off the streets is cited by Nassau County executive Edward Mangano. Retrieved 2015-06-26.
  20. ^ "Top law enforcement officials file in support of SAFE Act". The Albany Times-Union. June 25, 2013. 
  21. ^ "A New Approach to Gangs & Guns". Kathleen Rice Campaign Website. 
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^ "Nassau officials: 'Ultra-violent' gang members arrested". Newsday. April 18, 2013. 
  27. ^ "Nassau Police Conspiracy Partial Verdict: Flanagan Guilty of Official Misconduct". The Long Island Press. February 14, 2013. 
  28. ^ "Jury: Long Beach City Councilman Michael Fagen guilty of larceny". Newsday. February 5, 2013. 
  29. ^ "Roger Corbin found guilty of taking bribes". Long Island Herald. July 24, 2012. 
  30. ^ "Indictments Handed Down in TNH Building Department Probe". Anton News. October 19, 2007. 
  31. ^ "Cuomo Creates Special Commission to Investigate Corrupt Elected Officials". The New York Times. July 2, 2013. 
  32. ^ "Protecting Taxpayer Dollars". Kathleen Rice Campaign Website. 
  33. ^ "Promoting Equality in the Workplace". Kathleen Rice Campaign Website. 
  34. ^ "Jesse Friedman is 100% guilty of sexually abusing children, reinvestigation by Nassau County district attorney concludes". New York Daily News. June 25, 2013. 
  35. ^ "Schneiderman Wins Democratic Attorney General Race". The New York Times. September 15, 2010. 
  36. ^ "Kathleen Rice to lead state district attorneys". Newsday. July 23, 2013. 
  37. ^ LaRocco, Paul (2014-06-25). "Rice, Blakeman win 4th district primaries". Newsday. Retrieved 2014-11-10. 
  38. ^ "Election Results". Nassau County Board of Elections. Retrieved 2015-06-26. 
  39. ^ Nassau County Board of Elections. "2014 General Election Results". Nassau County Board of Elections. Retrieved 2014-11-11. 
  40. ^ "A NEW DA IN TOWN Hillary to swear in Kathleen Rice in Nassau". New York Daily News. January 8, 2006. 
  41. ^ "2005 Nassau Election Results". Nassau GOP Watch. November 9, 2005. 
  42. ^ "2009 Nassau Election Results". New York Times. November 9, 2009. 
  43. ^ "2010 Primary Results" (PDF). New York State Board of Elections. September 14, 2010. 
  44. ^ "Voters Guide". Newsday. Results for year: 2013; election: Nov. 5th general; race: Nassau County district attorney. There were also 90 write-in votes, accounting for .03% of the total votes. Retrieved 2015-06-26. 

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Carolyn McCarthy
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 4th congressional district

January 3, 2015 – present
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
John Ratcliffe
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
David Rouzer
R-North Carolina
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