50. KARIM CAMARA
ASSEMBLYMAN; CHAIR, BLACK, PUERTO RICAN, HISPANIC AND ASIAN LEGISLATIVE CAUCUS
Camara has made himself the gateway between minority lawmakers and Cuomo’s office, endearing himself to the governor by defending some of his policies to the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus. He is also one of the few Assembly members who has influence outside the Speaker’s inner circle.
49. EDWARD COX
CHAIRMAN, NEW YORK STATE REPUBLICAN COMMITTEE
Barring a seismic shift in state politics, New York will always be true-blue, but Cox soldiers on in his quest to make the state “purple.” The recent scandal involving some of New York City’s county Republican chairs didn’t reflect well on his leadership, but he’s still political royalty and an influential lawyer in his own right.
48. HAROLD ISELIN
ALBANY MANAGING SHAREHOLDER, GREENBERG TRAURIG
As the managing shareholder of one of the top lobbying firms in the state, Iselin has helped make sure that Greenberg Traurig has the ear of many of New York’s influential lawmakers. His tenure as assistant counsel to former Gov. Mario Cuomo undoubtedly gives him solid credibility with the current administration.
47. KEITH WRIGHT
ASSEMBLYMAN; CHAIR, HOUSING COMMITTEE; CO-CHAIR, NEW YORK STATE DEMOCRATIC PARTY
The Harlem assemblyman is one of the Legislature’s most formidable political power-brokers, a fact that was reinforced by his appointment as co-chair of the New York State Democratic Party and his ascendancy to chair of the Assembly Housing Committee. Whenever Shelly Silver decides to bow out, Wright will be in the mix as his possible successor.
46. DANIEL DONOHUE
PRESIDENT, NEW YORK STATE CIVIL SERVICE EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION
Donohue is the voice of state government employees, and he has not hesitated to shout down the governor or any state agency that doesn’t act in the best interests of his membership. No battle is too big or small for Donohue, who has recently taken his bully pulpit to the Thruway Authority after the agency laid off 234 workers.
45. LIZ BENJAMIN
HOST, CAPITAL TONIGHT
The most highly visible journalist in Albany traded print for television and never looked back. A muckraker and proud of it, she’s every bit as tough as anyone in the upper echelons of state government. Benjamin is one of the few reporters whom the governor fears—and the only reporter who has had a Nixonian dossier compiled about her.
44. MIKE MULGREW
PRESIDENT, UNITED FEDERATION OF TEACHERS
Mulgrew forms a powerful one-two punch with NYSUT’s Richard Iannuzzi, and always seems to find himself in the middle of skirmishes on behalf of his members. While butting heads with Bloomberg over teacher evaluations did not reflect well on either of them, Mulgrew has come back swinging on mayoral control over the education system in what will be a true litmus test for his clout in the Capitol.
43. JOHN DEFRANCISCO
STATE SENATOR; CHAIR, FINANCE COMMITTEE
The Senate Finance chairman is the point person for all budgetary negotiations in the Senate. As one of Dean Skelos’ closest friends he has the full trust of the majority leader.
42. KENNETH RASKE
PRESIDENT, GREATER NEW YORK HOSPITAL ASSOCIATIONRaske plays a key role in shaping the state’s health care delivery system. Hospitals will need his steady hand as New York braces for the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the enrollment of millions of uninsured individuals. Raske has also been a vocal opponent of for-profit investments in hospitals, despite the financially strained state hospital system.
41. RICHARD IANNUZZI
PRESIDENT, NEW YORK STATE UNITED TEACHERS
As head of the state teachers’ union, Iannuzzi flexed some serious muscle in this past election, spending money all over the state and helping secure several congressional and state Senate seats. He’s now taking up the mantle as one of the leading opponents to the implementation of the Common Core curriculum, going toe-to-toe with Merryl Tisch and other state education leaders.