Chief Deputy District Attorney Jackie Lacey
Lacey took the lead in last week’s primary and she is not taking anything for granted; she knows that it’s a tough road ahead.
“Nothing is a given,” said L.A. County District Attorney front-runner Jackie Lacey.
“Nothing should be taken for granted. We [still] have a tremendous amount of work to do in the next four to five months. If people don’t rally behind me and other good candidates, we could lose this opportunity…”
Lacey, endorsed by current D.A. Steve Cooley garnered 32 percent of the vote beating out five other candidates including fellow deputy D.A.’s Danette Meyers and Bobby Grace, hoping to fill Cooley’s seat. Now, she will face Deputy D.A. Alan Jackson in November and if she wins, she will be the county’s first African American and first woman elected to the position. Lacey credits a diligent team and a grass roots style campaign for her success so far.
“We didn’t buy any television. We didn’t buy any radio. We didn’t buy any print ads,” Lacey said.
“We mailed people and depended on the free media to get the news out. We spent about $400,000… I wouldn’t think about doing things any different. My campaign manager is (also) my friend. She pulled this thing off beautifully. My strategist is one of the best in the business. We were a small close knit team and we knew all along, if we kept telling the truth and spent our money wisely, didn’t blow it on television, if we talked to people like the Sentinel and L.A. Times and made our case, that we would win.”
Lacey vaguely compared her campaign to City Attorney Carmen Trutanich’s who received about 22 percent of the vote, despite an expensive TV ad campaign. She beat him in both poor and wealthy communities, she said, from Compton to Beverly Hills. In an earlier interview before the election, Lacey told reporters that voters would not want a “politician” in the D.A. office.
“The retirement of Steve Cooley would create a vacuum at the top of the office, and I think that vacuum should be filled by a tried-and-true veteran, seasoned prosecutor who understands what it means to perpetuate the mission of the office, which is ultimately to seek public safety for the community we serve,” she told the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin in May.
She will perpetuate that mission she said, by making public safety here her top priority.
“I want all communities to be safe,” Lacey explained.
“I want kids to be able to walk the streets without fear of being gunned down. I don’t want another one-year old to be shot by a stray gang bullet. I want kids to have choices. I don’t want them to feel like they have to join a gang.
“I believe in alternative sentencing for people who are suffering from mental illness and drug addiction. I want to educate our elders. People are taking financial advantage of elders in our community by scamming them out of their hard earned money that they’ve saved and put away…”
Being in a leadership position for the last eleven years has thoroughly prepared her for the job of L.A. County’s top prosecutor.
“If you’ve ever led an organization, you know that there are certain things that you learn that a ground level person wouldn’t,” she told the Sentinel in an earlier interview.
“You learn how to get people to do what you need them to do and how to set goals and how to help people to accomplish those goals.”
One of those goals is to create more transparency in the D.A. office, something that hasn’t really been done in the past.
“Unlike any other District Attorney in the county since 1840 I get what that’s like. I get what it’s like to feel like, well gee because a person is an African American [for example] that the justice system is unfair and doesn’t care,” Lacey said.
“What I can offer as a candidate is to say that you’ll be able to pick up the phone and call me and say, ‘you know what, I don’t like what happened here and tell me about it’ and I will listen and care.”