The Capitol Connection

Thursdays 3:00 p.m., Saturdays at 5:30 a.m.

Maybe you voted for them and maybe you didn't, but either way, what they do and how they think affects you. Each week on The Capitol Connection, you can keep yourself abreast of political developments and gain a little insight into how New York State's politicians think when you listen in as political scientist Dr. Alan Chartock holds conversations with members from the Assembly and Senate, and other political movers and shakers.

Tune in Thursdays at 3 PM, Saturdays at 5:30 AM. and Tuesdays at 6:30 PM on HD2 on WAMC Northeast Public Radio. The program is also carried on stations across New York State. Check your local listings for the time and frequency. 

Twitter: @Cap_Connection

Albany, NY – On this week's Capitol Connection Alan Chartock talks to Joe Caruso, director of polling for the Siena Research Institute. The institute just released this week its latest New York Poll, which consulted more than 600 registered New York voters and asked them their thoughts on Eliot Spitzer, the competitive race for attorney general and Hillary Clinton's chances in a 2008 presidential run. Alan and Joe also talk about the ins and outs of the polling process and whether they can affect elections directly.

Albany, NY – Alan Chartock talks to Howie Hawkins, the Green Party's choice to challenge U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton in this year's election. Hawkins, a co-founder of the party and longtime political activist, talks to Alan about the chances for an anti-war campaign, his advice to anti-war Democrats and the current conflicts between Israel, Hamas and Hizbollah.

Albany, NY – Alan Chartock talks to former Westchester district attorney Jeanine Pirro, the Republican candidate for state attorney general. Alan questions her about her fund-raising efforts and her recent ads and statements that compare her to current attorney general Eliot Spitzer, a Democrat. Pirro also talks about her ranking in the polls compared to one of her possible Democratic rivals for the job, Andrew Cuomo. She even shares her thoughts on the quality of the press' coverage of her personal life.

Albany, NY – Alan talks to Daily News Albany bureau chief Joe Mahoney about the Gov. Pataki's state-funded dinner for New Hampshire GOP activists, the Court of Appeals' recent decision to pass the gay-marriage buck back to the Legislature, and the odds in the numerous state and national Senate races throughout the state.

Albany, NY – Alan Chartock talks to John Clifton, the New York Libertarian Party's chosen candidate for governor. Clifton, a Queens social worker and Navy veteran, lays out his platform, which includes legalized drugs, preventing eminent domain abuses and a cap on the state income tax. Also touched on is a repeal of the restaurant smoking ban.

Albany, NY – Alan talks to state Assemblyman Tom Kirwan of New York's 100th district. Kirwan gives an overview of this year's recently-concluded legislative session in which he tried to push through rules for protecting the minority conferences and legislation expanding the state's criminal DNA database and capping the sales tax on gasoline. Alan and Tom also speculate on the potential turnout in this year's elections.

Albany, NY – Alan's guest is Jay Gallagher, Gannett News's Albany bureau chief and longtime reporter on New York State politics. Subjects of this week's show include gubernatorial candidate Eliot Spitzer's anti-establishment credentials, the building of a computer chip factory in Saratoga County and the race to replace outgoing Senate Minority Leader David Paterson.

Albany, NY – Alan talks to Republican Congressman John Sweeney of New York's 20th district. The two discuss the recent debate over distribution of Homeland Security funding, Governor George Pataki's presidential prospects and Sweeney's stance on the recent scandal involving Democratic Congressman William Jefferson.

Albany, NY – On this week's show, Alan Chartock talks to state Senator Liz Krueger, chair of the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee, about the chances of a Democratic takeover of the Senate in 2006. The two also talk about the brewing Democratic conflict over the replacement of departing Senate Minority Leader David Paterson and the strengthening of the state Democratic base.

Albany, NY – Alan talks to former Assembly Minority Leader John Faso, the Republican Party's newly-picked candidate for governor. Faso, fresh off a surprise victory at the state Republican convention, talks to Alan about what an Eliot Spitzer administration will mean for taxpayers, getting homeland security funding back to New York, and his positions on social issues.

Albany, NY – Alan's guest is Lee Miringoff, director of Marist College's Institute for Public Opinion, a nationally renowned polling resource. Lee and Alan discuss a recent poll showing ambivalence among New Yorkers over a presidential run by Senator Hillary Clinton, the seeming convulsions going on in the New York Republican Party, a possible Democratic tsunami on both the state and national levels, and how all this is connected to President Bush's approval ratings.

Albany, NY – Alan talks to Kathleen Troia "KT" McFarland, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense under President Ronald Reagan, who's looking to run against Senator Hillary Clinton in November. Mrs. McFarland talks about her reasons for running against the well-known senator, her appraisal of the situation in Iraq, and the potential role upstate New York can play in the new economy.

Albany, NY – Alan talks to Kathleen Troia "KT" McFarland, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense under President Ronald Reagan, who's looking to run against Senator Hillary Clinton in November. Mrs. McFarland talks about her reasons for running against the well-known senator, her appraisal of the situation in Iraq, and the potential role upstate New York can play in the new economy.

Albany, NY – Alan talks to Kathleen Troia "KT" McFarland, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense under President Ronald Reagan, who's looking to run against Senator Hillary Clinton in November. Mrs. McFarland talks about her reasons for running against the well-known senator, her appraisal of the situation in Iraq, and the potential role upstate New York can play in the new economy.

Albany, NY – Alan Chartock talks to Rachel Leon, director of Common Cause New York, one of the more influential good government groups lobbying in Albany. Alan talks to Rachel about the group's current focus, redistricting reform. Rachel lays out the problems with the current method, the details of what such reform would look like, support for the reform from the Legislature, and more.

Albany, NY – WAMC's Alan Chartock talks to Albany County District Attorney David Soares, who explains his recent controversial statements made at an international drug conference in Canada. Soares, who criticized the U.S. war on drugs at the conference, found himself under attack by Albany mayor Jerry Jennings and law enforcement officials upon his return. Soares also talks about the continuing reform of New York's Rockefeller drug laws.

Albany, NY – Alan Chartock talks to state Assemblyman Michael Gianaris of Queens' 36th Assembly District. Gianaris talks with Alan about a subject important to both of them, redistricting reform. Specifically, they discuss a bill Gianaris has sponsored that would remove the Legislature's ability to redistrict, giving it to an independent commission of retired jurists. Alan questions whether or not the Republican-dominated Senate would ever pass such a bill, and whether or not that may soon be a moot point.

Albany, NY – Alan Chartock talks to former Public Advocate for New York City, Mark Green. Mr. Green is one of six Democrats running for state attorney general, and discusses his qualifications gained from his decades of public service. Alan also questions him on his recent endorsements and the consequences of political endorsements in general. The two also talk about candidates' responsibilities to disclose their finances and former clients in order to avoid potential conflicts of interest.

Albany, NY – On this week's Capitol Connection, Alan Chartock talks to Billy Easton, executive director of the Alliance for Quality Education, the political arm of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity. Alan and Billy discuss the current status of the landmark education-funding case CFE vs. New York State, the possibility of support from the state Senate's Republican conference, and why the education increases in this year's budget fail to address the problem.

Albany, NY – On this week's show, Alan Chartock talks to James Odato, a Capitol beat reporter for the Albany Times Union. Odato, who's covered state politics for the paper since 1997, shares his thoughts on the ongoing budget battle in Albany, the likelihood of a Democratic takeover of the state Legislature and possible pay hikes for New York lawmakers.

Albany, NY – On this week's Capitol Connection, Alan Chartock talks to state Senator Stephen Saland, chair of the Senate's Education Committee. Fresh off the Legislature's second on-time budget in a row, Sen. Saland talks about the need to balance capital and administrative spending, explains the state budget's hold harmless rules and gives his opinion on the effectiveness of charter schools in New York and around the country.

Albany, NY – On this week's Capitol Connection, Alan Chartock talks to Queens Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan, the new chair of the Assembly's Education Committee. She discusses the chances of another on-time budget for New York and what effect the continuing school funding court case might have. She also shares her experiences getting up to speed as a new committee chair, and tells Alan what she thinks of charter schools and teacher's unions.

Albany, NY – On this week's Capitol Connection, Alan Chartock talks to former Assembly Minority Leader John Faso, a conservative Republican candidate running for the governor's office. Faso discusses the qualifications that he feels make him a better candidate than William Weld, the former Massachusetts governor who is also seeking the Republican nomination, and the steps he feels need to be taken to keep New York competitive in the global economy.

Albany, NY – On this week's Capitol Connection, Alan Chartock talks to former U.S. Attorney for Western New York Denise O'Donnell, who's running in the Democratic primary for state attorney general. Alan asks O'Donnell about why her campaign stresses her prosecutorial experience, beating the name recognition value of people like Mark Green and Andrew Cuomo, and the relationship between the attorney general's office and local district attorneys.

Albany, NY – On this week's Capitol Connection, Alan Chartock welcomes labor organizer and social activist Jonathan Tasini, who's running against incumbent U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton on a platform of withdrawing American troops from Iraq as soon as possible. Tasini also has plans for a massive national project for investing in alternative energy, as well as a national free wireless program. Alan asks Tasini what he thinks of his chances against the popular senator and about the Democratic Party's shift to the center.

Albany, NY – On this week's Capitol Connection, Alan Chartock talks with state Senate Minority Leader David Paterson, who was recently picked by gubernatorial hopeful Eliot Spitzer as his choice for lieutenant governor. Sen. Paterson shares his thoughts on the role of a lieutenant governor, tells the story of how he was offered the spot, discusses the possibility of a takeover of the Senate by Democrats, and speculates on the potential Democratic infighting that may result.

Albany, NY – Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver shares the microphones with Alan Chartock this week to discuss the ramifications of charter schools in New York, as well as the need for the state to be a leader in stem cell research. Alan also quizzes him on Tom Suozzi's chances against Eliot Spitzer in this year's gubernatorial race and just what is going on at Manhattan's Ground Zero.

Albany, NY – On this week's show, Alan shares the mike with Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, who's looking to replace Eliot Spitzer in the state attorney general's office. Alan and Richard discuss the rigors of campaigning, Richard's opinion on the proper role of the attorney general, and why the name recognition of his opponents is not a problem.

Albany, NY – This week, Alan talks with Peter Baynes, the new executive director of New York State's Conference of Mayors. The two discuss Governor Pataki's new executive budget, and New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg's reaction to it. Also on the agenda is a talk on the governor's ability to shape the language of the state budget, the change in the political landscape when Pataki steps down at the end of the year, the chief concerns of New York's ailing cities, and the validity of mayoral term limits.

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