(By Sandy Eller)
With more than ten years of experience in the Sullivan County District Attorney’s office, Meagan Galligan’s reputation as being tough on crime and extremely community minded has been hard won.
Galligan, who has been serving as Sullivan County’s acting district attorney since January, comes from a family whose history of public service spans four generations. Having worked her way up the ranks from assistant district attorney to executive assistant district attorney to chief assistant district attorney to the position she holds today, Galligan hopes to emerge victorious from Tuesday’s Republican primary, positioning her one step closer to winning the highest elected position in the county.
Throughout her career in the district attorney’s office, Galligan has appreciated the importance of building strong relationships with constituents in order to best serve Sullivan County’s diverse population.
“I have been proud to work with leaders of the Jewish community, other faith communities, various community programs and their leadership throughout Sullivan County,” said Galligan. “It is very important and the message that I have carried, and that has resonated so well, is that we all need to understand each other’s perspectives.”
Galligan was quick to react to Chanukah hate crimes this past winter, releasing a statement that made it abundantly clear that violence had no place in Sullivan County.
“Intolerance is a divisive thing and it is important to have positive relationships, communication and respect,” said Galligan. “This isn’t just about enforcing the law – backslides like this need to be nipped in the bud.”
Galligan recalled one incident where a group of local teens in Bethel committed an act of anti-Semitism. A local rabbi asked to speak to the young adults involved, hoping to demonstrate their commonalities as a method of deterring future incidents.
“From that conversation they understood that we are all members of the same community and we all deserve basic decency,” recalled Galligan. “They were ashamed to have perpetrated acts of hate against people they didn’t even know. I am proud of that kind of community outreach and development which has led to positive outcomes for everyone.”
Galligan has earned the endorsements of Sullivan County’s Democratic, Republican, Conservative and Independence parties as well as that of the Sullivan County Sheriff Mike Schiff, Sullivan County Undersheriff Eric Chaboty, Town of Fallsburg Police Chief Simmie Williams, Town of Fallsburg Supervisor Steve Vegliante and retired Town of Thompson Supervisor Tony Cellini. Jewish community leaders, including Jack Meyer, Bernard Freilech, Bernie Gibbs, Abe Eisner, Abe Friedman, Chaskel Bennett, Simcha Bernath, Yidel Feig, Moshe Indig, Moshe Grunhut, Abraham Rutner and Abraham Rosenberg have praised her for track record and her dedication to working closely with the faith-based community.
If elected district attorney, Galligan plans to develop a county-wide liaison program that would include community leaders from all across Sullivan County.
“I have had very successful learning experiences speaking with rabbis, reverends and community leaders,” noted Galligan. “It brings awareness and sensitivity to members of my office with respect to important community events and traditions. When you understand people, you can much more effectively keep their communities safe.”
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