New York State Attorney General Letitia James has a contested election this fall — opposed by Republican challenger and attorney Michael Henry on Nov. 8 — but she already has her eye on her future successor.

Her name? Nia, a nine-year-old girl who shared the stage with James at a Schneps Media event at Van Nest on Thursday, as James delivered a fiery speech that touched on a recent string of U.S. Supreme Court rulings and his role in protecting the freedoms of women and New Yorkers across the state while paving the way for women’s mobility in the state.

“This little girl said she wanted to run for office, so I put it in her mind that she will replace me (as attorney general) one day,” James told a crowd of about 300. at Maestro Caterers. “She’s going to school, I’m going to move away because I’m getting old and we’re going to have a new attorney general and her name is Nia.”

James said it was a “horrible week” for women across the country following the Supreme Court’s controversial 6-3 decision to overturn Roe v. Wade last Friday in their decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, kicking off the fight against abortion in courtrooms and campaigns across the country this week.

Before leading some members of the crowd in a series of cathartic boos for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, James affirmed his role as an uplifter and “shield” for women in the state as Attorney General, in the face of patriarchal challenges.

“As Attorney General, it is my responsibility to uplift women, uplift marginalized and vulnerable populations…to protect your rights, especially at a time when the Supreme Court is failing to uphold your rights as a woman. “, said James. “Boo Clarence Thomas. Boo.”

On Monday, James joined a national coalition of 22 attorneys general to issue a joint statement “reaffirming their commitment to supporting and expanding access to abortion care.”

Despite the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, access to safe and legal abortion remains strongly protected in many states across the country, including New York.

It was a busy first term for James, who had been a mainstay on the New York political scene, having served a long term on city council as the city’s public defender in 2013, before becoming attorney general in 2018.

James also briefly launched a run for state governor before dropping out of the race in December.

The AG not only put former President Donald Trump in its crosshairs for alleged fraud in his family’s business activities in the state, but it also recently filed a lawsuit against 10 ghost gun makers, which which has been a central part of the state’s strategy to stop gun proliferation.

The lawsuit accuses the manufacturers of violating state and federal laws by selling the untraceable guns to convicted felons and other consumers without conducting background checks.

The companies named in the lawsuit include: Brownells; Blackhawk Manufacturing Group; Salvo Technologies, Inc.; GS performance; Independent firearms; Main weapons; Arm or Ally; Rainier weapons; KM Tactical and Rock Slide USA.

James said SCOTUS’ 6-3 decision to overturn New York’s handgun licensing laws that require those seeking to conceal carry to provide a special need to do so – further jeopardizes New Yorker.

“(Last Thursday) the court decided to make a decision that will unfortunately turn New York into the Wild Wild West, but we will not allow it,” she said. “It won’t be the wild Wild West. It will not be an open season for firearms. We will not allow guns to run rampant in New York, New York State.

Contact Robbie Sequeira at [email protected] or (718) 260-4599. For more coverage follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes