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Buffalo native accepts GOP nomination for NYS AG

Keith Wofford accepts the GOP nomination for New York State Attorney General.

New York State Republicans have endorsed Buffalo native Keith Wofford for the position of Attorney General.

"My name if Keith Wofford and it is with humble heart and the support and encouragement from my wife, my family and friends and all of you that I accept your nomination to be the next Attorney General of the State of New York."

In his acceptance speech, Wolfford talked about growing up on the East Side of Buffalo, attending City Honors High School, graduating from Harvard Law School and becoming a partner in his current New York City law firm, Ropes & Gray, which focuses on corporate law. He said growing up in Buffalo taught him everything he needed to know and was an important part about why he was running for Attorney General.

"My father got up at 4:30 in the morning in Buffalo and went to work at the Chevy plant. I watched him to this day in and day out and his best to give me and my brother opportunities for success. My father taught me the value and importance of basic hard work," Wofford said. "My mother graduated from Hutch Tech at the top of her class in 1948. I remember riding the #12 East Utica bus wit her on weekends to the Central Library in Buffalo, picking books, talking about books that we loved, really beautiful quiet library.My mother taught me the value and importance of education."

In addition to his parents, Wofford said his U.S. Army officer brother taught him "the value of serving for a cause greater than self-interest." Wofford said New York State "needs an Attorney General who knows the difference between a good lawsuit and a lousy one, but the only way that happens is that we elect someone who's actually gone to court and won."

Wofford said he believes he is "the only candidate with the experience, personal integrity and independence to serve as the next Attorney General - and can do so on day one."

Wofford talked about how New York State has "the most corrupt government in or nation." He said his "top priority" will be "to tackle the political corruption, both legal and illegal, that have plagued our state government for too long. I'lll put an end to it by going after public corruption wherever it leads and bringing charges against those who violate the public trust regardless of their title."

He said the last three AGs - all Democrats - have used the office only to further their own political ambitions and "destroy anyone of anything who dares to stand in their way."

Barbara Underwood is the current Attorney General, but she has said she will not run in November. Underwood was appointed after Eric Schneiderman resigned under a cloud of sexual misconduct charges he says involved consensual role playing.

Before Schneiderman, Andrew Cuomo was AG. Cuomo took over after Eliot Spitzer resigned after charges were lodged he patronized an elite escort service. Buffalo native Dennis Vacco was the last Republican to serve as AG.

However, Wofford's acceptance speech did take on a political tone when he startd talking about his next priority: making New York business friendly.

"As Attorney General, I will fight every day to ensure that New Yorkers have the opportunities they deserve: to start businesses, to grow businesses, to buy a home, to raise their families and to, one day, actually retire and stay here," Wofford said, touting the GOP party line. "Because at the end of the day, if we don't have a vibrant and growing economy, our state is going to cease to exist. So I want to work with all businesses, large and small, entrepreneurs and employees to ensure the success of our state."

Wofford said he would "advocate every day to bring about fundamental change to how we address these issues." Wofford's resume at his current Big Apple law firm includes the representation of businesses in bankruptcy and restructuring, including oil, gas, electric, cable, lending and securities corporations.

He also touched on education. Wofford called it "the civil rights issue of our time" and quoted African American social reformer Frederick Douglass in his support of public, charter, private, parochial and yeshiva schools.

"Every child deserves access to a quality, affordable education. It starts with parents, educational choices and access....Frederick Douglass - a big hero of mine, an upstate New Yorker - once said, 'It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.'"

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