Donna Cathy announces candidacy for judge in Seneca Co.

Former Seneca County District Attorney Donna Cathy announced her candidacy for Seneca County Judge in the 2018 election. The seat is up for election this year due to the impending retirement of Judge Dennis Bender.

“I’m running for Seneca County Judge because service to others is the most important calling a person can have,” said Ms. Cathy, a Republican. “The individuals who appear at the Seneca County Courthouse deserve a judge who has the experience and background to be fair, compassionate and firm. I have the experience, qualifications and long standing community involvement to ensure that justice is done for those who appear in our courtroom.”

Ms. Cathy served as Seneca County District Attorney from 1994 to 2001, winning election twice as a Republican. In 1995, she founded and chaired the Seneca Against Violence (SAV) Coalition. At that time, SAV was the only coalition in New York State which addressed issues of elder abuse in the same vein as child abuse and domestic violence.

Since leaving office, Ms. Cathy has operated her own successful private legal practice based in Waterloo that serves clients in Seneca, Ontario and Wayne Counties. She has handled thousands of cases and has presented across the state on topics related to elder abuse and domestic violence.



An honors graduate of both SUNY Oswego and the Syracuse University College of Law, Ms. Cathy began her legal career while still in law school as an intern at the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Onondaga County District Attorney’s Office. She also worked as a law clerk for the Syracuse Housing Authority. Prior to being admitted to the bar, she was allowed to write and argue appeals under special approval of the Fourth Department Appellate Division.

After law school she served for five years as an Assistant D.A. in Onondaga and St. Lawrence Counties. Ms. Cathy excelled in the prosecution of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse cases. She later served as Counsel to now-retired State Senator Mike Nozzolio before being elected as the Seneca County District Attorney.

Ms. Cathy has also helped teach our next generation of attorneys as an Adjunct Professor at Syracuse University College of Law where she taught legal writing and advocacy skills. She coached the Syracuse Law School Moot Court Jessup Team to International recognition in the World Cup Championships in 1991 and continues to be a resource for local youth who express an interest in the legal field.

Beyond her impressive legal qualifications, Ms. Cathy has also given back to our community by volunteering for numerous community organizations. Among many other roles, she has served as: President of the Board of Directors and as the Executive Director of the local American Red Cross in the Finger Lakes; Co-Chairperson of the Children and Youth Task Force in Seneca County; President of the Seneca Falls Rotary Club; Vice President of the Seneca County Bar Association; Member of the Stop DWI Committee; Member of the Drug Abuse Task Force; Founding Member of the Wayne-Finger Lakes Steering Committee for Safe Schools and Strong Communities; and Member of the Congressional Academy Review Board. She has also been a local Den Leader for her son’s Boy Scout Troop, the Team Mom, and is a YMCA certified Swim Official.

Ms. Cathy played a leading role in our Red Cross community during the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, attacks. As President of the Board she immediately began to manage local efforts to raise money, organize volunteers and promote blood drives.

“I have a wide perspective and understanding of the people of Seneca County due to my experience with members of our community as your District Attorney, as a defense attorney, as a private practice attorney, as one who supports both seniors and youth, as a volunteer, as a coach and as a mother,” added Ms. Cathy. “I’m asking the voters of our community to let me bring this unique combination of experience to serve them as their next Seneca County Judge.”

A resident of Seneca County for over 25 years, Ms. Cathy, 57, lives in Waterloo with her teenage son. She was raised in neighboring Wayne County where she learned the value of hard work at any early age as a laborer at a Finger Lakes apple farm starting at the age of 11.

This year’s Primary Election is slated for Thursday, September 13th. The General Election is set for Tuesday, November 6th.