Author Archive

The Bright Lights of Albany

Written by Morgan Pehme on . Posted in News & Features

My earliest memory of New York State politics, so far back now that it is more of an impression than a genuine recollection, is then Gov. Mario Cuomo hoisting me onto his shoulders as he presided over a press conference at the Park Avenue Armory in Manhattan. Though I must have been no more than 5 or 6 at the time, what has always remained in my mind’s eye was the strobe of flashbulbs before us and a dizzying, almost… [More]

Rising Stars 40 Under 40: Brian Paul

Written by Morgan Pehme on . Posted in Rising Stars

BRIAN PAUL Age: 26 Research and Policy Coordinator, Common Cause New York Even after Brian Paul had finished drawing Common Cause New York’s “reform maps” last year, he had no idea how much of an impact they would make on the state’s congressional landscape for the next 10 years. When the special master appointed to resolve the impasse in the state legislature, Judge Roanne Mann, ultimately decided the Congressionial lines, she cited the maps Paul had spent months laboring over… [More]

Rising Stars 40 Under 40: Brad Fischer

Written by Morgan Pehme on . Posted in Rising Stars

BRAD FISCHER Age: 32 Director of Operations, Albany County When Daniel McCoy was elected Albany County executive at the end of 2011, he turned to Brad Fischer to lead his transition team. A native of the county’s hamlet of Slingerlands and a proud resident of downtown Albany, Fischer was a fitting choice for the job. “I’m very good at curating relationships, making connections between people,” says Fischer. While Fischer describes the purpose of his job as “executing the county executive’s… [More]

Rising Stars 40 Under 40: Laura Kavanagh

Written by Morgan Pehme on . Posted in Rising Stars

LAURA KAVANAGH Age: 29 Vice President of Campaigns and Elections, The Advance Group After discovering that she had a gift for fundraising and politics while canvassing for nonprofits in her native California, then-23-year-old Laura Kavanagh decided she was ready for the big time. Kavanagh bought a one-way ticket to the East Coast, determined to land in the thick of campaign season somewhere in New York or Washington, D.C. Her audacity paid off when she was hired by the Advance Group,… [More]

Rising Stars 40 Under 40: Jennifer Freeman

Written by Morgan Pehme on . Posted in Rising Stars

JENNIFER FREEMAN Age: 38 Director of Communications, State Comptroller’s Office Though she is one of the state government’s most skilled and experienced communication directors, Jennifer Freeman is hesitant to talk up her own accomplishments. The chief spokeswoman for State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli prefers to highlight the “focus” and “integrity” of her boss and the staggering magnitude of the work her office performs: the 300,000 financial transactions it processes daily, the billions of dollars in contracts it approves on a given… [More]

Rising Stars 40 Under 40: Deanna Bitetti

Written by Morgan Pehme on . Posted in Rising Stars

DEANNA BITETTI Age: 28 Chief of Staff, Assemblyman David Weprin Deanna Bitetti’s commitment to public service is personal. “Growing up in a low-income household and having to deal with government services on a regular basis made me really want to get into government to affect change from within,” explains Bitetti, who was reared in a hardscrabble section of Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. “It’s always been my goal to make services more accessible to low-income individuals, and to ensure that government didn’t… [More]