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District Attorney Nicole Duve touts record and receives support from fellow Democrats

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CANTON — St. Lawrence County District Attorney Nicole M. Duve, who is seeking a third term in office, received support from fellow Democrats at the county Democratic Committee’s fall dinner on Friday evening and touted her record as testimony to her job performance.

North County Regional Representative for the Department of Labor June F. O’Neill said Mrs. Duve’s eight years on the job have proved her a hard worker and passionate advocate for justice.

“Being district attorney is a tough job,” Mrs. O’Neill said. “People don’t understand what the DA is and what the DA does and what the DA can do and what the DA can’t do.”

Ms. Duve is facing a challenge for the seat this year from Republican candidate Mary E. Rain, a defense attorney and former public defender who has launched an aggressive campaign criticizing Ms. Duve for failing to effectively prosecute violent criminals.

A lifelong resident of the north country, Ms. Duve said her upbringing in a “family of modest means” instilled in her a strong work ethic as she began working at an early age.

“I worked my way through SUNY Potsdam and Albany Law School and after law school I came back to St. Lawrence County because this is where I chose to make my home with my husband, Bill,” she said. “This is where we’ve chosen to raise our three children.”

Ms. Duve pointed to her two decades of experience in criminal law and her designation as a special assistant U.S. attorney, which has seen her working closely with the U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecuting cross-border crimes and focusing on the region’s drug problems.

“What matters most is outcomes,” she said. “To that end I want to highlight one statistic. According to the state Division of Criminal Justice Service, based on the uniform crime reports of indexed crime — and these are the statistics that the FBI uses to calculate crime rates across the country — the number of violent crimes reported to the police in this county has dropped 42 percent from 2008 to 2012. That’s an amazing statistic.”

“I don’t say this to suggest that we don’t need to be vigilant, for there are pockets in the county where outside influences have torn at the sense of safety that folks in the north country have become accustomed to,” Ms. Duve cautioned. “But what you’ve seen is by working together, we have, we can and we will rise to the occasion and address the challenges that those outside influences present.”

Addressing the campaign, Ms. Duve said she has worked hard to stay out of the political fray up until now. “It hasn’t been easy,” she said.

“But let me tell you this: entrusting an individual with the substantial investigative powers of the district attorney’s office, including subpoena power, is an incredibly serious matter,” Ms. Duve said. “Folks, in short, temperament matters in this job.”

“During that time I’ve been subjected to a steady drum beat of inaccurate and politically motivated charges by my opponent. Thus far I’ve held my tongue. Thus far I haven’t engaged in a conversation about our respective work ethics or anyone’s tenure as public defender. Thus far I haven’t engaged in a conversation about dragging victims or their families into the middle of a political campaign. And thus far I haven’t engaged in a conversation about temperament,” Ms. Duve told the assembled Democrats.

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