- Nassau County
Kathleen Rice is the District Attorney of Nassau County, a diverse suburban community of 1.3 million people located on Long Island, New York. Kathleen’s innovative, tough and smart-on-crime initiatives have garnered the two-term District Attorney critical acclaim and national attention.
Kathleen shocked the political establishment in 2005 with her defeat of a 31-year incumbent, making her the first woman elected DA in Long Island's history. Since taking office, Kathleen has defined what it means to be a modern prosecutor, proving that law enforcement officials can be both tough and smart on crime.
Kathleen's nationally-recognized efforts to combat drunk-driving have led to statewide changes in DWI law and Long Island’s first two DWI-related murder convictions. In 2009, CBS's 60 Minutes profiled Kathleen's work to reduce drunk driving, sparking a renewed national debate on local law enforcement's role in DWI prevention, prosecution and education.
In 2007, Kathleen launched an innovative, community-oriented strategy to eliminate one of Long Island's most prolific drug markets. The strategy paired community involvement with traditional law enforcement methods, progressive social service diversion, job training and education opportunities. Kathleen’s efforts resulted in a 70% reduction in crime and a dramatic decrease in neighborhood violence. The strategy was profiled nationally on ABC News’ PrimeTime and portions of it have since been adopted for use by the U.S. Department of Justice.
In 2011, Kathleen’s first-of-its-kind investigation into widespread reports of college entrance exam cheating resulted in a series of convictions and a sweeping overhaul of national test-taking security protocols. The reforms Kathleen achieved helped level the playing field for honest kids and showed that district attorneys can play a unique role in our communities when other institutions and regulators fail to protect the public interest.
In keeping with a central campaign promise when she first ran for office, Kathleen has taken down scores of public officials preying on the public’s trust. Her investigations into public corruption have resulted in government reform and led a Long Island newspaper to dub Kathleen, New York's "Eliot Ness."
As the county’s chief prosecutor, Kathleen overhauled the training program administered to first-year prosecutors in the office, resulting in higher trial conviction rates and reducing the office’s need to plea bargain with violent criminals.
In addition to cracking down on violent crime, Kathleen has launched several education initiatives that target the causes of crime. Her presentations, aimed at educating communities and youth about the dangers of drunk-driving, heroin and prescription drug abuse, identity theft and Internet crime, have been given in more than 200 settings since she took office.
Whether it’s DWI, drug crime, national reform, government corruption, her focus on consumer protection or her high-profile fights against Medicaid fraud and Internet sexual predators, Kathleen has been unafraid to tackle our biggest issues. And she’s won.
Kathleen's career in public service began as an assistant district attorney in New York City. Kathleen handled cases of domestic violence and gang activity, and would become first in her class to be appointed to the office’s elite Homicide Bureau. As a homicide prosecutor in Brooklyn, Kathleen put some of New York’s most dangerous criminals behind bars. In 1999, Kathleen was appointed Assistant United States Attorney, where she went on to an award-winning career as a federal prosecutor in the Department of Justice's Philadelphia office.
Kathleen earned a B.A. in English from Catholic University in Washington, D.C., and a J.D. from Long Island’s Touro Law Center. She lives in Garden City, New York.