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.

Founding Partners, Brown & Weinraub


David Weinraub & Patrick Brown

Last Year's Rank: 29 & 28

Change: Down 8 & 9

New York City Managing Director, SKDKnickerbocker


Jennifer Cunningham

Last Year's Rank: 23

Change: Down 13

Secretary, Assembly Ways and Means Committee


Blake Washington

Last Year's Rank: 44

Change: Up 9

Counsel, State Senate Republicans


Elizabeth Garvey

Last Year's Rank: 43

Change: Up 9



Liz Benjamin

Last Year's Rank: 39

Change: Up 6

Albany Bureau Chief, Daily News


Kenneth Lovett

Last Year's Rank: 41

Change: Up 9

Bronx Borough President


Rubén Diaz Jr.

Last Year's Rank: 37

Change: Up 6

New York City Mayor


Bill de Blasio

Last Year's Rank: 20

Change: Down 10

Executive Deputy Secretary to the Governor


Jill DesRosiers

Last Year's Rank: N/A

Change: New to list

Chancellor, State Board of Regents


Betty Rosa

Last Year's Rank: 36

Change: Up 8

President, United Federation of Teachers


Michael Mulgrew

Last Year's Rank: 34

Change: Up 7

Commissioner, State Department of Education


MarryEllen Elia

Last Year's Rank: 32

Change: Up 6

State Senate Deputy Majority Leader


John DeFrancisco

Last Year's Rank: 40

Change: Up 15

U.S. Senator


Kirsten Gillibrand

Last Year's Rank: 15

Change: Down 9

Founder and President, Kasirer Consulting


Suri Kasirer

Last Year's Rank: 61

Change: Up 38

Principal, Jackson Lewis


Kenneth Shapiro

Last Year's Rank: 25

Change: Up 3

Founder and CEO, Metropolitan Public Strategies


Neal Kwatra

Last Year's Rank: 22

Change: Up 1

President, Real Estate Board of New York


John Banks

Last Year's Rank: 27

Change: Up 7

Deputy Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs


Joseph Rabito

Last Year's Rank: N/A

Change: New to list

State Medicaid Director


Jason Helgerson

Last Year's Rank: 35

Change: Up 17

Chairman, Cuomo 2018


Bill Mulrow

Last Year's Rank: 16

Change: Down 1