Letitia “Tish” James is the 67th Attorney General for the State of New York. With decades of work, she is an experienced attorney and public servant with a long record of accomplishments. She is the first woman of color to hold statewide office in New York and the first woman to be elected Attorney General.
James was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from Lehman College and earned her JD from Howard University School of Law. James began her career as a public defender at the Legal Aid Society.
In 2013, James was elected Public Advocate for the City of New York and became the first woman of color to hold citywide office. As Public Advocate, James served as a watchdog over New York City government agencies and as an advocate for the City’s most vulnerable communities. She transformed the Public Advocate’s office to be a formidable engine for change.
Her office handled over 32,000 constituent complaints and passed more legislation than all previous Public Advocates combined, including a groundbreaking law that banned questions about salary history from the employment process to address the pervasive gender wage gap. James successfully took on the gun industry by pushing New York City’s largest pension fund to divest from gun and ammunition retailers. She fought in court on behalf of children and families on issues including children in foster care, children with disabilities, and tenant protection. New Yorkers overwhelmingly elected Tish James to a second term as Public Advocate in November 2017.
Prior to serving as Public Advocate, James served as the New York City Council Member for the 35th District in Brooklyn. As a Council Member, she passed the Safe Housing Act, legislation that forced landlords to improve living conditions for tenants in New York City’s worst buildings. She helped uncover the corruption behind the Office of Payroll Administration’s CityTime contract, a scheme that cost New York City over $600 million. She also pushed through a revolutionary recycling package that included expanding plastic recycling, a new clothing and textile recycling program, and increased access to recycling in public spaces.
Before her election to New York City Council, James served as head of the Brooklyn Regional Office of the New York State Attorney General’s Office. She resolved hundreds of consumer complaints and investigated predatory lenders who preyed on first-time homebuyers. She assisted the Civil Rights Bureau in its investigation of the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy and cracked down on firms engaged in deceptive business practices including violations of human rights, environmental laws, and scams targeting immigrants.
Attorney General Accomplishments:
As Attorney General, James has sued to protect student loan borrowers, led a multi-state lawsuit against the EPA for allowing dangerous pesticides, and recovered more than $70 million in a multi-state settlement from Reckitt Benckiser.