“Power is a lot like real estate,” says Rep. Francis Underwood in the political drama House of Cards. “It’s all about location, location, location. The closer you are to the source, the higher your property value.”

Underwood is a fictional character, but in the real world of politics his words often hold true. In New York, proximity to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who holds the state’s highest elected office, can serve as an indicator of political clout. Nearly a dozen people on this year’s list owe their jobs directly to the governor, and many others are highly ranked largely because of their connections to him or to other state power brokers. Even those who have earned election to a high level office generally owe their position to key patrons and mentors who helped them climb the rungs of power. Cuomo himself grew up with a father who was governor, after all.

However, simply being close to a powerful figure does not always mean that one is powerful as a result. Dozens of state commissioners and agency heads are nowhere to be found on this list. Sandra Lee, the governor’s longtime girlfriend, did not make the cut, and Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy just squeezed on to it for a second consecutive year at No. 100.

As Rep. Underwood notes in a later episode, “Proximity to power deludes some into thinking they wield it.”

To give our readers an accurate portrayal of who really holds sway in Albany politics, City & State presents its second annual Albany Power 100. Of course, any list of this sort is bound to generate criticism and controversy. We acknowledge that our ranking is imperfect—yet it is not arbitrary. Off-the-record conversations with many of the state’s most savvy political insiders helped us arrive at a list that we hope will resound with the people who know the score as well as anyone—our readers.

Chief of Staff, Independent Democratic Conference

22

John Emrick


Last Year's Rank: n/a

Change: New

Assemblyman; Chair, Housing Committee; Chair, State Democratic Party

23

Keith Wright


Last Year's Rank: 47

Change: +24

Former Secretary to the Governor

24

Steven M. Cohen


Last Year's Rank: 30

Change: +6

President and CEO, Partnership for New York City

25

Kathryn Wylde


Last Year's Rank: 17

Change: -8

Managing Director, SKDKnickerbocker

26

Jennifer Cunningham


Last Year's Rank: 23

Change: -3

Chairman, Association for a Better New York; President, Rudin Management Company

27

William Rudin


Last Year's Rank: 40

Change: +13

President, New York State AFL-CIO

28

Mario Cilento


Last Year's Rank: 53

Change: +25

Partner, Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker

29

Kenneth Shapiro


Last Year's Rank: 31

Change: +2

President, New York State Public Employees Federation

30

Susan Kent


Last Year's Rank: 64

Change: +34

President, Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York

31

Gary LaBarbera


Last Year's Rank: 33

Change: +2

President, Greater New York Hospital Association

32

Kenneth Raske


Last Year's Rank: 43

Change: +10

Billionaire venture capitalist and investment banker

33

Kenneth Langone


Last Year's Rank: 31

Change: -2

President, New York State Civil Service Employees Association

34

Daniel Donohue


Last Year's Rank: 46

Change: +12

President, United Federation of Teachers

35

Michael Mulgrew


Last Year's Rank: 44

Change: +9

State Superintendent of Financial Services

36

Benjamin Lawsky


Last Year's Rank: 52

Change: +16

Founder and Chairman, The Related Companies

37

Stephen Ross


Last Year's Rank: 39

Change: +2

President, New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council

38

Peter Ward


Last Year's Rank: 72

Change: +34

Chancellor, New York State Board of Regents

39

Merryl Tisch


Last Year's Rank: 34

Change: -5

Host, Capital Tonight

40

Liz Benjamin


Last Year's Rank: 45

Change: +5

Assemblyman; Chairman, Bronx Democratic Party

41

Carl Heastie


Last Year's Rank: n/a

Change: New

Albany Managing Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig

42

Harold Iselin


Last Year's Rank: 48

Change: +6