Karen DeWitt

Capitol Bureau Correspondent, Albany

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief 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.

Ways to Connect

Rich Mitchell / Flickr

Gov. Cuomo’s former closest aid received a prison sentence Thursday day of six years after being convicted of illegally gaining over $300,000 in bribery schemes.

More talk of Governor Andrew Cuomo seeking the Presidency in 2020 has been fueled by the governor’s decisive victory over a candidate from the progressive left of his party. But the governor still says he’s only running for a third term to lead New York State.

Cuomo beat actor and education advocate Cynthia Nixon by a two to one margin in the September 13th primary, and he has a double digit lead against his Republican challenger in the polls.

The general election for governor in New York is heating up, with the Republican candidate, Marc Molinaro, calling for the resignation of a former advisor to incumbent Andrew Cuomo, while the sitting governor rallied against President Trump.

Molinaro is making  a statewide string of appearances to focus on what he says is rampant corruption in the Cuomo Administration.

“This governor is allowing almost a corrupted criminal enterprise to function within state government,” Molinaro said. “And it needs to come to an end.”

The state Comptroller, Tom DiNapoli, is out with his annual report on Wall Street profits, and he finds, not surprisingly, they are up.

Lt. Governor's Office/Jumaane Williams

The Democratic primary for lieutenant governor is turning out to be closer than the governor’s race — according to the polls, anyway.

New York City Councilmember Jumaane Williams is challenging incumbent Kathy Hochul for the post.

Williams said he brings a different vision to the office. He said he wants to be independent and sees the lieutenant governor’s role as similar to the post of New York City public advocate, an elected position that is meant to represent the needs of the public.

Cuomo/Nixon campaigns

Thursday is primary day in New York, and the biggest race is between Democratic incumbent Governor Andrew Cuomo and challenger, actor and education advocate, Cynthia Nixon.

Marco Varisco / Flickr

Democratic primary voters on Thursday have a choice of four candidates for state attorney general after former AG Eric Schneiderman resigned in May over allegations he physically abused several women that he dated.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo had been gaining momentum in the days leading up to the Sept. 13 Democratic primary for governor, but two controversial incidents over the weekend could set the governor back in his race against challenger Cynthia Nixon.

Karen Dewitt / WRVO News (file photo)

Single-payer health care for New York has become an issue in the race for governor. Democratic primary challenger Cynthia Nixon say if she’s elected, she’d enact single-payer for New York. Not all of her opponents think that’s a good idea.

Nixon wants New York to adopt a health care system that would bypass insurance companies and expand existing government-funded health care for seniors to all New Yorkers. She spoke to supporters recently in Albany.

"We can have a New York with a single-payer Medicare-for-all system," Nixon said as the crowd applauded.

WXXI News

The end of August used to be considered a slow season in politics, but television ads released by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his Republican challenger, Marc Molinaro, are getting heated.

Molinaro said Cuomo insulted his pregnant wife, while the governor’s campaign tried to bar the GOP candidate’s spot on state corruption from airing on television stations.

stgermh / Flickr

The Democratic candidates for governor — incumbent Andrew Cuomo and challenger Cynthia Nixon — have different views on spending money on the state’s schools.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

There are three weeks until primary day in New York, and the Democratic underdog for governor, Cynthia Nixon, is laying out her plans for the final stretch of campaigning, saying there is a potential path to victory.

Nixon is trailing incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo by 30 points in the polls. But she said there is a path to victory, and recent contests — including the June upset win of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez over incumbent Congressman Joe Crowley in a Democratic primary — have shown the polls aren’t always accurate.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo continued to rail against President Donald Trump on Wednesday. But some of his political opponents say the governor needs to talk more about issues related to New York state.

At an appearance at the State Fair, Cuomo commented on the felony conviction of Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, in federal court in Virginia and the guilty plea from Trump’s personal lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, where Cohen implicated the president in a crime.

Karen Dewitt / WRVO News

A Bennington College survey of residents in the PFOA-contaminated village of Hoosick Falls in eastern New York finds higher rates of illnesses among residents exposed to the toxic substance than did a previous study conducted by the New York State Health Department.

Maloney campaign

New York Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney is running in the four-way Democratic primary for state attorney general after former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman resigned in May over accusations that he physically assaulted women he dated.

It’s a short campaign season before the Sept. 13 primary. Now that Congress is in recess, the 52-year-old Maloney, who represents portions of the Hudson Valley, has stepped up his campaign schedule, with daily events across the state.

Leecia 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.

stgermh / Flickr

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."

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

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.

Tish James / Facebook

The Democratic frontrunner in the primary race for Attorney General, Tish James, said if 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 has appeared frequently in public with Cuomo, who’s seeking a third term as governor. She recently made a trip with the governor and other elected officials to Puerto Rico to help storm survivors.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

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

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

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.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

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.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News (file photo)

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.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Finishing his fifth trip to Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria struck the island last September, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a new agricultural trade agreement – and had some harsh words for President Donald Trump.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

There’s a four-way democratic primary for Attorney General of New York, to replace Eric Schneiderman, who resigned over allegations he physically abused women that he dated.

One of the candidates, Zephyr Teachout, was at the State Capitol for several events Monday, including an endorsement by Assemblyman Phil Steck. Steck is one of the only state legislators who was a Bernie Sanders delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 2016.

stgermh / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s economic development programs have been the subject of two federal corruption trials that ended with convictions for two of Cuomo’s former associates.

But some say problems with the $9 billion programs go beyond corruption and that the structure of the programs is flawed.

Wallyg / via Flickr

Less than a month after the legislative session officially ended, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been calling for the state Senate to come back and work on what he says is unfinished business.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has just over $31 million in his campaign coffers, according to the most recent July filings.

That amount dwarfs the amount collected by his challengers, Democrat Cynthia Nixon and Republican Marc Molinaro, who each have less than a million dollars in their war chests.

Cuomo raised over $6 million from January to mid-July of this year, and spent nearly $5.4 million, most of that in the months since he gained Nixon, an actor and education activist, as a Democratic primary challenger.

WRVO News (file photo)

Opponents to incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the 2018 governor’s race are continuing to weigh in on the corruption convictions of the former head of Cuomo’s economic development programs. Independent candidate for governor and the former Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner says it’s not just Cuomo and his administration who are to blame.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

The second set of corruption convictions of former associates of Gov. Andrew Cuomo has renewed calls to reform the governor’s multibillion-dollar economic development program that was at the heart of the bribery and bid-rigging cases. But Cuomo said the problem is already fixed.

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