Wagstaff Gains Diverse Endorsements; Campaign for Westchester District Attorney Keeps Building Broad Coalition of Support


William O. Wagstaff III’s campaign for Westchester District Attorney bolstered support with the announcement of four endorsements from prominent Westchester County Democratic Councilmembers.

Wagstaff, a respected attorney, proven civil rights advocate, and steadfast social justice champion, welcomed the endorsements of longtime Democratic leaders Andrés Castillo, Bedford Town Board; Gina Jackson, Greenburgh Town Board; Cathlin Gleason, Mount Vernon City Council President; and Shane Osinloye, New Rochelle City Council.

“I’m honored by the endorsements from elected officials representing a diverse swath of communities across our county,” said William Wagstaff. “Having Democratic leaders intimately attest to my ability to make Westchester fairer, safer, and stronger further proves I can bring the real change that our justice system needs.”

“I’m endorsing William Wagstaff for Westchester County District Attorney because he represents progress, innovation, and compassion. When elected, he would not only make history as the first person of color to hold this seat but would also expand programs to support communities that are unfairly and disproportionately impacted by the criminal justice system,” said Andrés Castillo, Bedford Town Board. “In addition to leading an esteemed legal practice specializing in civil rights, criminal defense, and municipal law, William holds a master’s degree in business administration, which will enable him to provide both highly effective management and data-driven initiatives for the DA office.”

Wagstaff, thanking Castillo, echoed that he will “implement data-driven solutions to both combat and prevent gun violence, hate crimes, domestic violence, and property crime” as Westchester DA.

Greenburgh Councilwoman Gina Jackson’s support reflects Wagstaff’s lifelong commitment to justice; including his service as a Special Prosecutor for Police Disciplinary Hearings, being Chair of the African American Men of Westchester Mentoring Committee, and on the Board of Directors for the Legal Aid Society of Westchester.

“I am absolutely certain that William Wagstaff possesses the necessary skills and qualities to be the next Westchester County District Attorney. His unwavering dedication to integrity and fairness, which are paramount in today’s society, further strengthens my confidence in his ability to fulfill this role,” Jackson shared.

Westchester County District Attorney candidate William Wagstaff presents BW’s AJ Woodson with the M. Paul Redd Award at Black Dems Of Westchester Annual Reception on Sunday, January 21, 2024 at the Westchester Marriott [Black Westchester]

“I have personally worked alongside William O. Wagstaff III for over a decade. William takes great pride in every case he takes on. He works feverishly, never leaving any stone unturned,”  Cathlin Gleason, Mount Vernon City Council President said. “We need someone in the Westchester County DA’s office who cares that everyone in Westchester remains safe, regardless of zip code, while understanding it’s equally important that cases are resolved equitably. William is a standout attorney who’s tirelessly advocated for the People! The People matter!!! Which is why I am unequivocally endorsing him for Westchester County DA.”

Wagstaff, a Mount Vernon native, has served as the City’s Special Police Prosecutor, and as Special Counsel and Chair of the Judicial Appointments Committee for Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard, the first to come out and endorse Wagstaff.

“An unwavering champion of integrity and selflessness, William’s journey to Westchester County DA is a testament to his dedication. His commitment to serving with the utmost integrity is commendable. He has my unequivocal support in his pursuit of justice and a better community for all.” Mount Vernon Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard shared last week.

“I am pleased and honored to announce the first official endorsement of my candidacy for District Attorney, Mount Vernon Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard,” said William Wagstaff. “It is a privilege to work with Mayor Patterson-Howard as her Special Counsel and Chair of her Judicial Appointments Committee, as well as to serve as the city’s Special Prosecutor for Police Discipline. Providing Mayor Patterson-Howard with advice and counsel on issues of public safety, decisions on who has the qualifications and judicial temperament to serve on the bench, and holding police accountable have provided invaluable insight that will aid me in setting policy for the DA’s office. It is an incredible honor to have the unwavering support of the Mayor of my hometown and humbling that she continues to place her trust in me.”

Also endorsing Civil rights lawyer William Wagstaff for district attorney is newly elected New Rochelle City Councilman Shane Osinloye,

“I have seen William O. Wagstaff in action on the front lines of our communities. Mr. Wagstaff is a tireless advocate and polished voice of reason during difficult times. District Attorney is a grave role, requiring a leader who understands that the decisions they make from moment to moment will impact individual lives, families and communities. William demonstrates a deeply contemplative temperament that should be a prerequisite to serving as district attorney. As policymakers seek restorative justice practices to deliver tangible equity, we need partners in the judicial realm who are dedicated to achieving justice in its truest form.”

Wagstaff, who has represented victims of several most high-profile civil rights cases in recent history, said he is “deeply thankful and honored by the diverse cross-county support.”

The endorsements build on the momentum of Wagstaff last week announcing $102,000 raised for his 2024 election campaign. Wagstaff’s continued success positions him as a clear frontrunner in the narrowing race of three candidates for the Democratic primary.

“The status quo fails to meet the needs of Westchester County, and our diverse communities are strongly supporting my ability to deliver the impactful change we need as Westchester’s next District Attorney,” Wagstaff concluded. “I will meet the moment by using the District Attorney’s Office as a vehicle to protect victims, stand up for those in need, uplift our community, and ensure safety, accountability, and equity for Westchester.”

Westchester District Attorney race now down to 3 Democrats

Wagstaff who is hoping to become the county’s first Black DA faces three other candidates in the race to replace current WCDA Mimi Rocah, the Hon. Susan Cacace who was the longest-tenured County Court Judge of Westchester County, and former Westchester prosecutor Adeel Mirza.

Sheralyn Pulver Goodman has backed out of the race in order to run for the county judgeship vacated when Susan Cacace resigned to run for district attorney. She was the second candidate to bow out of the DA’s race. David Szuchman, a Paypal executive and former Manhattan prosecutor, gave up his campaign in late December just a few weeks after announcing it. Democrats hold a nearly 3-1 majority over Republicans in the county and no GOP candidates have surfaced yet.

Thursday, October 26, 2023, Westchester County District Attorney Mimi Rocah made a surprise announcement, she will not run for re-election in 2024.

“This has been a difficult decision but one that is right for me and my family at this time. As I approached the decision whether to run for a second term, my thoughts have been occupied in recent weeks by the terrorist attack on Israel and the aftermath, which has profoundly and personally impacted me in ways that I did not expect,” Rocah shared with Black Westchester.

About William Wagstaff: William O. Wagstaff III is a respected attorney who has represented victims in some of the most high-profile civil rights cases in recent history. William’s commitment to his community is equal to his commitment to justice; he served as Special Prosecutor for Police Disciplinary Hearings, serves as Chair of the African American Men of Westchester Mentoring Committee, and is on the Board of Directors for the Legal Aid Society of Westchester. Wagstaff’s civil rights advocacy, legal experience, and ability to effect change are earning him broad support across Westchester County for District Attorney as his campaign continues to build momentum as a frontrunner ahead of the June Democratic Primary. Born and raised in Mount Vernon, and a lifelong Westchester resident, he is now raising two great kids with his wife Christina. For more information visit www.wagstaffforda.com.

AJ Woodson
AJ Woodson
AJ Woodson is the Editor-In-Chief and co-owner of Black Westchester, Host & Producer of the People Before Politics Radio Show, An Author, Journalism Fellow (Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism), Rap Artist - one third of the legendary underground rap group JVC FORCE known for the single Strong Island, Radio Personality, Hip-Hop Historian, Documentarian, Activist, Criminal Justice Advocate and Freelance Journalist whose byline has appeared in several print publications and online sites including The Source, Vibe, the Village Voice, Upscale, Sonicnet.com, Launch.com, Rolling Out Newspaper, Daily Challenge Newspaper, Spiritual Minded Magazine, Word Up! Magazine, On The Go Magazine and several others.

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