Putting together our annual Power 100 list for Albany is a lot of fun. We talk to sources we trust and get pitches from people – some with clear agendas and others with opaque objectives – that leave us scratching our heads. In the end, we take all the information we’ve gathered and have some grand discussions (even a few heated yelling matches) over who should be on the list, or who should be on top. This year we spent roughly 14 hours talking through the list in a series of seven meetings over the course of two months.

I mention all this because I want you to know how seriously we take this list. And not just because it’s fun, but because understanding who has influence and power helps shed at least a little light on why some things get done, and others don’t. And, as our list makes clear, almost nothing in Albany gets done solely on merit. It requires political maneuvering that often involves a handful of people, if not dozens, weighing in and helping craft a final decision – whether it’s a bill, a budget allocation or an implementation of policy.

Times may be changing, though. The overarching trend we noticed is that lobbyists, fundraisers and top lawmakers don’t have as tight a grip on control. This I think we can directly attribute to the string of corruption convictions and plethora of investigations coming from the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. While the fear of Preet hasn’t halted traditional Albany government operations, it definitely has leveled the playing field a little. Advocates, rank-and-file lawmakers and many other politicos who have long been ignored now feel like they have a little bit more power to get things done. That sentiment played heavily into making this list, which includes more members of the state Legislature than in past years and a wider range of advocates at the expense of some of the prominent campaign fundraisers who may not wield as much power in the new Albany (emphasis on the word “may”).

Like all of our lists, this is a snapshot in time. I have no doubt that there will be large shifts in the coming weeks and months, but right now this is our view of the power structures at the Capitol. Enjoy.

-Michael Gareth Johnson, City & State Editorial Director

 

Chief Prosecuting Attorney, Riverkeeper

100

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.


Last Year's Rank: N/A

Change: N/A

Chairman, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

99

John Degnan


Last Year's Rank: N/A

Change: N/A

Chairwoman, Assembly Education Committee

98

Cathy Nolan


Last Year's Rank: N/A

Change: N/A

Director, Siena College Research Institute

97

Don Levy


Last Year's Rank: N/A

Change: N/A

Cardinal, Archbishop of New York

96

Timothy Dolan


Last Year's Rank: 86

Change: -10

President, Empire Center for Public Policy

95

E.J. McMahon


Last Year's Rank: 98

Change: 3

State Senator

94

Simcha Felder


Last Year's Rank: N/A

Change: N/A

Chairman, Ellicott Development

93

Carl Paladino


Last Year's Rank: N/A

Change: N/A

Reporter, The Buffalo News

92

Tom Precious


Last Year's Rank: 51

Change: -41

State Director, Working Families Party

91

Bill Lipton


Last Year's Rank: N/A

Change: N/A

Co­-Founder and Co­-Editor, Politico States

90

Josh Benson


Last Year's Rank: N/A

Change: N/A

Chairman, State Republican Party

89

Edward Cox


Last Year's Rank: 96

Change: 7

Lieutenant Governor

88

Kathy Hochul


Last Year's Rank: 100

Change: 12

President and CEO, New York Power Authority

87

Gil Quiniones


Last Year's Rank: N/A

Change: N/A

Chief Investment Officer, State Comptroller’s Office

86

Vicki Fuller


Last Year's Rank: 69

Change: -17

Program and Policy Secretary, Assembly Democratic Conference

85

Lou Ann Ciccone


Last Year's Rank: N/A

Change: N/A

Chief Judge

84

Janet DiFiore


Last Year's Rank: N/A

Change: N/A

General Manager, Uber NYC

83

Josh Mohrer


Last Year's Rank: N/A

Change: N/A

Chairman, State Senate Transportation Committee

82

Joseph Robach


Last Year's Rank: N/A

Change: N/A

State Director, AARP NY

81

Beth Finkel


Last Year's Rank: N/A

Change: N/A

President and CEO, Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce

80

Robert Duffy


Last Year's Rank: 92

Change: 12