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Karen DeWitt

Capitol Bureau Correspondent

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Correspondent for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.

She is also a regular contributor to the statewide public television program about New York State government, New York Now. She appears on the reporter’s roundtable segment and interviews newsmakers. 

Karen previously worked for WINS Radio, New York, and has written for numerous publications, including Adirondack Life and the Albany newsweekly Metroland.

She is a past recipient of the prestigious Walter T. Brown Memorial award for excellence in journalism, from the Legislative Correspondents Association, and was named Media Person of the Year for 2009 by the Women’s Press Club of New York State.

Karen is a graduate of the State University of New York at Geneseo.

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Governor Cuomo's office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo stirred some controversy Wednesday when he told an audience at a bill-signing ceremony in Manhattan that America “was never that great.” 

“We’re not going to make America great again, it was never that great,” Cuomo said as some in the audience gasped in surprise.

It gained him sharp criticism from the Republican candidate for governor, Marc Molinaro, who said it was “shocking” and that Cuomo “owes the nation an apology.”

The governor also received critiques on social media.

Eve campaign

Leecia Eve, one of four candidates running in the Sept. 13 Democratic primary for state attorney general, believes her background makes her more qualified to hold the office than her opponents.

Eve is not well-known in a race where 40 percent of potential Democratic primary voters still don’t know the candidates. A recent Siena College survey puts her support at just 4 percent.

Tempers flared Wednesday at the New York State Board of Elections, where commissioners voted to limit the subpoena powers of the investigator in charge of enforcing campaign finance violations.

The investigator, Risa Sugarman, said it’s a case of blatant “political interference,” while board commissioners accused Sugarman of being secretive and playing the “victim.”

File photo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is making the rounds of national news programs now that he has become the target of a lawsuit by the National Rifle Association.

Cuomo, a gun control advocate, is asking other states to join him in fighting what he said is an “extremist” organization. The NRA said it’s Cuomo who has a political “vendetta” against the group that could lead to its demise.

The state Education Department has announced it made an error in the distribution of some federal funding that favored the state’s charter schools over public schools.

State Education Commissioner Mary Ellen Elia took full responsibility for the mistake. She said a misreading of a new federal funding formula gave $12 million more to 275 charter schools in the state at the expense of 677 public school districts, including some of the poorest schools in New York.

MATT RYAN, NEW YORK NOW

The Democratic front-runner in the primary race for attorney general, Tish James, said if she’s elected, she’d be independent of her political ally, Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

James, who is in her second term as New York City’s public advocate, was nominated by the state Democratic Party to be its candidate. She’s appeared frequently in public with the top of the ticket, Andrew Cuomo, who’s seeking a third term as governor.

“Today we join with our great governor, who has led the way,” James said at a gun control rally with Cuomo on June 11.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has both a primary challenger and several general election opponents as he seeks a third term.

But New Yorkers could be forgiven for mistakenly thinking that the governor is actually running against President Donald Trump.

On nearly a daily basis, Cuomo spends a portion of his public events railing against Trump.

He spent three days in a row in late July critiquing what he said is the president’s failed cleanup efforts in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of two major hurricanes.

Governor Cuomo's office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is enjoying solid support from the leaders of most of the major unions in New York as he runs for a third term in office. But Cuomo’s relationship with organized labor was not always so sunny.

Cuomo’s frequent appearances with union leaders in recent months have included lavish praise on both sides.

Mario Cilento, head of the state’s AFL-CIO, which has 2.5 million members, spoke at an event with Cuomo in the spring.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he’s ordered his Department of Financial Services to reject requests by health insurance companies to raise rates in response to actions by the Trump administration to weaken the Affordable Care Act.

Cuomo said health insurance carriers have asked for an average of a 24 percent rate increase in response to the Trump administration’s decision to repeal the individual mandate under the ACA. That provision required healthy people to buy insurance in order to stabilize rates for all policyholders.

A newly formed group is reaching out to public worker union members in New York, informing them of their rights — under the recently decided U.S. Supreme Court Janus case — to opt out of their unions. But union leaders say the organization is a front group for anti-union billionaires.

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