20. ROB SPEYER
CHAIR, REAL ESTATE BOARD OF NEW YORK; CO–CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF TISHMAN SPEYER
The youngest chair in the Real Estate Board of New York’s history and president of real estate giant Tishman Speyer, the press-shy Speyer is one of New York’s most significant movers and shakers in a city full of them. He’s also a key supporter of the governor, and the founder and co-chair of the Committee to Save New York, which spent more money on lobbying in New York State than any other organization in 2011 and 2012.
19. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND
The subject of glowing profiles in several glossy magazines, Gillibrand is earning legitimate presidential buzz for 2016 thanks to her tough stances on same-sex marriage, gun control, federal aid for 9/11 workers and Superstorm Sandy relief. She may have to fend off the governor if Hillary doesn’t run, a thought that Cuomo surely doesn’t relish.
18. ANDREA STEWART-COUSINS
SENATE MINORITY LEADER
The first woman in a leadership position in the Legislature’s history has been a calming presence in a conference long beset with turmoil. The governor listens to her, particularly on women’s issues—a focal point of his State of the State address this year. She is in the minority right now, but power has a way of changing, like the weather in Albany, and she could soon accomplish another historic first.
17. KATHRYN WYLDE
PRESIDENT AND CEO, PARTNERSHIP FOR NEW YORK CITY
There’s no one who embodies New York City’s business interests more than Wylde, and as a result there are few legislators who won’t take her call. The only smudge on her record this year was when she failed to prevent Cuomo from passing a hightax bracket for top income earners in the budget.
16. MICHAEL BLOOMBERG
MAYOR OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK
He’s got a testy relationship with the governor and didn’t do himself any favors in Albany by wrangling with the UFT over teacher evaluations this year, but Bloomberg’s clout as a businessman, mayor and media mogul still make him a significant player in the Capitol. It’s only because the mayor is on his way out the door that Bloomberg isn’t higher up on this list.
15. JOSEPH PERCOCO
EXECUTIVE DEPUTY SECRETARY, GOVERNOR’S OFFICE
Cuomo’s former advance man is his most loyal aide and top enforcer, with unparalleled access to his boss. The third peg in Cuomo’s adviser triumvirate with Glaser and Schwartz, Percoco specializes in dealing with gubernatorial obstacles on matters better left behind-the-scenes.
14. JAMES YATES
COUNSEL TO THE ASSEMBLY SPEAKER
A former judge and counsel to former Speaker Mel Miller, Yates never leaves Shelly Silver’s side when a bill or the budget is being hashed out. He not only drafts the Democrats’ legislation but takes to the floor to whip up votes for it.
13. ROBERT MUJICA
CHIEF OF STAFF AND FINANCE SECRETARY, SENATE REPUBLICANS
Dean Skelos’ most trusted advisor is the architect of the Senate’s governing majority. The unflappable negotiator wears a lot of hats: secretary of the Senate Finance Committee, Skelos’ chief of staff and Senate Republicans’ sensei all rolled into one.
12. JOSEPH MORELLE
ASSEMBLY MAJORITY LEADER
He doesn’t seek the spotlight, but he’s become a favorite of the governor and Assembly members on both sides of the aisle. If Shelly ever calls it quits, Morelle would be the clear choice to be the next Speaker if he weren’t from upstate New York. Chair of the Monroe County Democratic Party, he is a juggernaut in his area, even recently electing his son Joe Jr. to the county legislature.
11. ERIC SCHNEIDERMAN
A hero among New York City progressives, Schneiderman has garnered national attention for his crusades against Medicaid fraud and his settlements with the financial industry. While likely a future gubernatorial candidate, he has been oddly passive in taking on political corruption, and deferred to the governor on signature issues including ethics reform in a way that Cuomo and Spitzer never did.