Liz Benjamin

Liz Benjamin: Spitzer's Return

Jul 8, 2013

The biggest question about Eliot Spitzer's decision to throw his hat into the New York City comptroller's race isn't why he's doing it - the disgraced former governor has been dropping not-so-subtle hints about his desire to return to public life for years now.
Liz Benjamin
YNN, Capital Tonight

It may be difficult for legislators to truly relax on their summer vacations this year, with Gov. Andrew Cuomo's latest Moreland Act Commission about to swing into high gear.

Cuomo wasn't kidding when he said he planned to move quickly on convening the commission to investigate the state's woefully loophole riddled campaign finance system following the Legislature's failure to pass any anti-corruption reforms before the session's end late week (or early this weekend, given the Senate's Friday-to-Saturday all-nighter).

Liz Benjamin: Crying Wolf?

May 13, 2013
Liz Benjamin
YNN, Capital Tonight

The following is a direct quote from Gov. Andrew Cuomo:

"New Yorkers deserve a clean and transparent government comprised of officials who work for the people, not for the special interests and certainly not for their own corrupt self-interests."

Liz Benjamin: Trouble For "Senator #1"

May 6, 2013
Liz Benjamin
YNN, Capital Tonight

Et Tu, Shirley?

Since the revelation that former Bronx Assemblyman Nelson Castro had been working as a double agent for federal prosecutors for almost the entire duration of his four years in office, the most popular political parlor game in Albany has been trying to guess who else might be wearing a wire.

Liz Benjamin: The Future of Wilson Pakula

Apr 22, 2013
Liz Benjamin
YNN, Capital Tonight

Why is Governor Andrew Cuomo trying to neuter the leaders of New York’s most prominent minor political parties?

Liz Benjamin
YNN, Capital Tonight

In the wake of last week’s back-to-back corruption scandals that rocked New York politics, everyone’s looking for someone to blame.  

Liz Benjamin: The Big Ugly

Mar 25, 2013

Governor Cuomo's supposedly no drama budget is coming to a rather dramatic end.

The Senate held a rare weekend session – on Palm Sunday, no less – to pass a limited number of budget bills, while the Assembly, citing the Passover holiday that starts at sundown tonight, refused to return to Albany until Thursday.

Liz Benjamin: Light and Shade

Mar 18, 2013
Liz Benjamin
YNN, Capital Tonight

Governor Cuomo made a big show last week of marking Sunshine Week - a national initiative launched in 2005 by the American Society of News Editors to highlight the importance of open government and the dangers of excessive and unnecessary secrecy.

Liz Benjamin: Bread and Politics

Mar 11, 2013

Today's Siena poll brings some bad news for Gov. Andrew Cuomo, finding his job approval rating has continued its downward trajectory and bottomed out at 54 percent - its lowest point since he took office in January 2011.

Things aren't completely cloudy for the governor, however. His favorability rating is better than two-to-one, ND well above that magic 50 percent mark.

Also, New Yorkers broadly support Cuomo's top legislative agenda items this year.

Liz Benjamin
YNN, Capital Tonight

WAMC's Ian Pickus speaks with Liz Benjamin, host of YNN's Capital Tonight and a WAMC commentator, who is in Washington to cover today's presidential inauguration.

  Last Friday was the deadline for comments to be lodged with the DEC on its most recent set of regulations for the controversial natural gas drilling process known as hydrofracking.

Predictably, the well-organized and vociferous anti-fracking crowd seized on the opportunity to make yet another public plea to Governor Andrew Cuomo that he reject the idea of drilling in the Marcellus Shale.

Liz Benjamin: Gun control battle is joined

Jan 7, 2013
Liz Benjamin
YNN, Capital Tonight

Gov. Andrew Cuomo will deliver his third annual State of the State address Wednesday in the Empire State Plaza Convention Center.

A tip for first-time attendees: Don’t check your coat. The governor likes to keep things cold. 

Cuomo has declined to keep up the tradition of official pre-speech leaks. But he has dropped hints about the topics he'll be discussing, including responses to the two highest-profile tragedies of recent months: Superstorm Sandy and the Sandy Hook massacre.

Members of Congress are ringing in the New Year down in Washington, D.C. racing against time to get a deal in place that averts sending the country over the so-called fiscal cliff.

After spending Christmas with the possibility of getting called back to Albany by Governor Cuomo for a special session hanging over their heads, it looks like state lawmakers can relax and enjoy themselves tonight.  Meanwhile, Cuomo has spent the past several days on a family ski vacation up in the North Country. It looks like it’ll be an Adirondack New Year’s for him.

Liz Benjamin - Mr. Cuomo Goes to Washington

Dec 3, 2012

Mr. Cuomo is finally going to Washington.

That’s right, Governor Andrew Cuomo is making his first trip today to our nation's capital since he took office back in January 2011. Most governors would not have waited this long. But Cuomo is not most governors. Cuomo has largely avoided out-of-state travel. He has left New York's borders only a handful of times – for a West Coast fundraiser, a quick visit to the annual Somos el Futuro conference in Puerto Rico, a one-day jaunt to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC.

We are now almost three weeks past the November 6th elections, and there's still no resolution in sight to the leadership crisis in the state Senate.

All eyes today are on Ulster County - the fifth and final county in the new 46th Senatorial District to count its paper ballots. After Montgomery County completed its count this weekend, Democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk trailed Republican Assemblyman George Amedore by 920 votes. The outcome of this race could very well decide who controls the upper chamber.

The ongoing struggle for control of the state Senate has put some traditional Democratic allies in a tough spot. That is particularly true when it comes to New York’s LGBT community.

The Democrats are trying to convince New Yorkers that putting the majority in their hands will result in passage of many long stalled so-called progressive bills. That includes a transgender rights measure, the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, better known as GENDA.

Two endorsements made yesterday in state Senate races proved - yet again - that old adage about the game of politics and the strange bedfellows its players choose as they seek to achieve, maintain or consolidate power.

The first came from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who is now two for two, technically speaking, in bestowing his general election support on fellow Democrats.

Cuomo's first nod went to Sen. Joe Addabbo, one of the Senate Republicans' top targets this fall who is facing a spirited challenge from a GOP rising star, New York City Councilman Eric Ulrich.

Liz Benjamin: Cuomo's Endorsements

Sep 17, 2012

When it comes to endorsements in last week's primaries, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is five for five.

All three of the Senate Democrats endorsed by the governor - via press release - in the week before the elections and both Assembly Democrats were successful at weathering challenges from fellow party members.

The three senators, Adriano Espaillat, Toby Ann Stavisky and Neil Breslin, won by wide margins.

Ditto for Assemblymen David Gantt and Sean Ryan.

Arguably, Cuomo didn't really have all that much on the line in these races.

Liz Benjamin: Governing By Threat

Sep 10, 2012

For the second time in two years, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has raised the specter of a Moreland Act commission in hopes of scaring people into doing his bidding.

This shouldn't come as any big surprise, if Cuomo has proved anything since he took office in January 2011, it's that he favors a carrot and stick approach to governing - with a heavy emphasis on the stick.

They say that wherever you go, you take your problems with you.

That's certainly true for Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who was unable to escape the clutches of the so-called Gropegate scandal when he arrived here in Charlotte, North Carolina yesterday to assume his role as head of the New York delegation at the Democratic National Convention. 

Within hours of touching down in the Queen City, Silver sat down for several extended interviews to discuss the mess.

This morning [Monday], the nine-member New York Metropolitan Transportation Council called a "special" meeting at its Manhattan headquarters to vote on the Cuomo administration's plan to build a new Tappan Zee Bridge - a necessary step for the project to replace the aging span to move forward.