Albany power 100

Who are the most powerful people in state politics?

It’s not an easy question to answer.

Power is an amorphous concept, defined differently by different people. So as we at City & State compiled this year’s list, we identified a few general principles to guide the process.

One criterion is an individual’s track record: What bills has a governor or lawmaker passed? What policies have top aides, advocates or activists shaped? What programs have top deputies or commissioners run, and how effectively have they carried them out?

Another criterion is a public figure’s capacity to effect change. The governorship of New York, for example, is a powerful office, and the current occupant has tested its limits. Others who have been appointed or elected to influential roles have not fully capitalized on them – at least, not yet.

A related factor is one’s constituency. The mayor of New York City has faced obstacles in Albany, but the fact that he runs a government serving around 8.5 million people means he cannot be ignored. Others – elected officials and leaders of unions or corporations – also have a responsibility to represent their constituents and empower them.

Finally, we took into account proximity to power – Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s ever-changing inner circle, longtime allies of legislative leaders, loyalists of the new president who hails from New York.

As we applied these principles, we reached out to trusted sources, reviewed major news developments over the past year and spent hours debating where each and every person on this list deserved to fall.

So without further ado, we present the 2017 Albany Power 100.

State Director, Working Families Party


Bill Lipton

Last Year's Rank: 91

Change: Down 9

Lieutenant Governor


Kathy Hochul

Last Year's Rank: 88

Change: Down 11

Dutchess County Executive


Marcus Molinaro

Last Year's Rank: N/A

Change: New to list

Director, Siena College Research Institute


Don Levy

Last Year's Rank: 97

Change: No change

Archbishop of New York


Timothy Dolan

Last Year's Rank: 96

Change: No change

Research Director, Empire Center for Public Policy


E.J. McMahon

Last Year's Rank: 95

Change: No change

CEO, Tonio Burgos & Associates


Tonio Burgos

Last Year's Rank: N/A

Change: New to list

Chairman, State Republican Party


Ed Cox

Last Year's Rank: 89

Change: Down 4

Partner, The Parkside Group


Evan Stavisky

Last Year's Rank: 71

Change: Down 21

New York Secretary of State


Rossana Rosado

Last Year's Rank: N/A

Change: New to list

Chief of Staff to the Governor


Maria Comella

Last Year's Rank: N/A

Change: New to list

Chief Enforcement Counsel, State Board of Elections


Risa Sugarman

Last Year's Rank: 69

Change: Down 20

State Senate Deputy Minority Leader


Michael Gianaris

Last Year's Rank: 60

Change: Down 28

President and CEO, New York Power Authority


Gil Quiniones

Last Year's Rank: 87

Change: No change

Chief Investment Officer, State Comptroller's Office


Vicki Fuller

Last Year's Rank: 86

Change: No change

Program and Policy Secretary, Assembly Democratic Conference


Lou Ann Ciccone

Last Year's Rank: 85

Change: No change

Chief Judge, State Court of Appeals


Janet DiFiore

Last Year's Rank: 84

Change: No change

Executive Director, State Democratic Party


Basil Smikle

Last Year's Rank: 74

Change: Down 9



Marcos Crespo

Last Year's Rank: 72

Change: Down 10

State Director, AARP


Beth Finkel

Last Year's Rank: 81

Change: No change

President, 32BJ SEIU


Héctor Figueroa

Last Year's Rank: 48

Change: Down 32