WEOS Finger Lakes Public Radio

Karen DeWitt

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.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is again wading into national issues this week. He’s had a press conference against the latest attempt in the U.S. Senate to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. And he met with the governors of California and Washington to discuss steps to slow climate change.

In both cases, the governor said he’s addressing the matters because the actions — or, in the case of climate change, inactions — in Washington have a harmful impact on New York.

Republicans in the state of New York met for a planning session in Albany on Tuesday in advance of the 2018 campaigns, which will begin shortly.

The party’s leader, Ed Cox, believes Republicans have a good chance at winning statewide offices against Gov. Andrew Cuomo and others next year.

Republicans in New York face a daunting challenge in the race for governor next year. There are fewer GOP voters than ever, as the number of Republicans shrinks and Democratic ranks grow.

In light of the recent massive data breach at the credit reporting company Equifax, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration is taking steps to make sure that in the future, the credit agencies have better cybersecurity in place.

Thirty historic sites in 21 counties in New York received $239,634 in preservation grant money, and they say it makes a difference in a region where the economy is struggling.

The grants were distributed by the Preservation League of New York State, along with help from the New York State Council on the Arts and the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation. They were awarded to groups ranging from an antique boat museum to a dance center to help with preserving cultural heritage across New York.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said New Yorkers who use the state Thruway will have a bit of a wait before more cashless tolling is installed on the nearly 500-mile tolled portion of the road.

The Cuomo administration’s Thruway Authority has adopted cashless tolls at the new Tappan Zee Bridge and will take down the toll booths on the Grand Island Bridge in the Buffalo-Niagara Falls area early next year.

There already is an option for cashless tolling at the Woodbury exit of the Thruway in the lower Hudson Valley, although toll booths still exist as an alternative.

The state Board of Regents is taking steps to make it easier for teachers to become certified in New York. But the state education commissioner denies that it’s a lessening of requirements. 

Prospective teachers in New York will no longer have to score as high on a qualifying test to obtain teaching certificates now that the Board of Regents has agreed to lower the passing score

Andrew Cuomo, in what has become an annual event for the New York governor, led a motorcycle ride along the path of a New York City firefighter rescue team to commemorate the 16th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Cuomo was introduced by actor Robert De Niro at a luncheon at the Javits Center in Manhattan, just before the final leg of the motorcycle ride. De Niro said when he heard he would be speaking before members of a motorcycle gang, he expected the Hells Angels. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s health commissioner received a grilling from state senators at a hearing this week on whether New York is doing enough to combat tick-borne illnesses.

Health Commissioner Howard Zucker told the senators that this year, there are fewer deer ticks and fewer reported cases of Lyme disease in the state.

But, he said, the number of Lone Star ticks is up. They can carry diseases such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever and even cause someone to become allergic to eating red meat.

A former EPA administrator and a former New York state health department official have teamed up with a Vermont college to conduct a health survey of people potentially affected by polluted water in the villages of Hoosick Falls and Petersburgh, and in Bennington, Vermont.

Judith Enck was the EPA regional administrator during the Obama administration who first warned Hoosick Falls residents in the fall of 2015 not to drink the water in their village because it was contaminated with PFOA, a chemical used in plastics manufacturing for decades in the area.

A left-leaning group is asking the state’s top politicians to give back donations from a hedge fund manager who made racially charged comments against New York’s only black female legislative leader. But so far, most — including Gov. Andrew Cuomo — have held on to the money.

Daniel Loeb, the founder and chief executive of the multi-billion-dollar hedge fund Third Point LLC, received attention when, in a Facebook post, he compared the leader of the state Senate Democrats, Andrea Stewart-Cousins, to the Ku Klux Klan.

Pages