40 Under 40 Rising Stars

State government is a behemoth. It is a massive construct of agencies and authorities, political leaders and their staffers. It also includes lobbyists, advocates, journalists and countless others playing their parts in decisions that impact our everyday lives. And while the prominent elected officials get all the attention, there are thousands of hardworking people outside the glare of the spotlight who are just as vital to state operations. Which is why we profile 40 of these exceptional talents each year as our Rising Stars in the world of state government.

This year’s honorees include a crop of fresh-faced Assembly members, some of the best communications people at the state Capitol, policy wonks who do unglamorous grunt work and some successful lobbyists. But all of them stood out to the colleagues who nominated them. 

Profiles were written by Jeffrey Coltin, Wilder Fleming, Ashley Hupfl, Jon Lentz, Alice Popovici and Justin Sondel. 

Deputy Superintendent for Public Affairs, State Department of Financial Services

Matt Anderson


Deputy Superintendent for Public Affairs, State Department of Financial Services

Counsel, Malkin & Ross

Justin Berhaupt


Counsel, Malkin & Ross

Assemblyman

Michael Blake


Assemblyman

Assemblyman

Ed Braunstein


Assemblyman

Government Relations Associate, Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, P.C.

Deanne Braveman


Government Relations Associate, Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, P.C.

Director of Public Affairs, Gramercy Communications

Matt Cannon


Director of Public Affairs, Gramercy Communications

Senior Policy Adviser to the State Medicaid Director, State Department of Health

Carlos Cuevas


Senior Policy Adviser to the State Medicaid Director, State Department of Health

Health Care Policy Director, Cordo & Co. LLC

Eric Henderson


Health Care Policy Director, Cordo & Co. LLC

Communications Director, Business Council of New York State

Zack Hutchins


Communications Director, Business Council of New York State

Chief of Staff, State Sen. David Valesky’s Office

Jessica Morelli Joyce


Chief of Staff, State Sen. David Valesky’s Office

Assemblywoman

Latoya Joyner


Assemblywoman

Assemblyman

Todd Kaminsky


Assemblyman

Government Affairs Specialist, McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP

Benjamin Kern


Government Affairs Specialist, McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP

Reporter,  Bloomberg News

Freeman Klopott


Reporter, Bloomberg News

Managing Director of Government and External Relations, UJA-Federation of New York

Jeff Leb


Managing Director of Government and External Relations, UJA-Federation of New York

Hudson Valley Political Action Coordinator, Civil Service Employees Association

Chris Ludlow


Hudson Valley Political Action Coordinator, Civil Service Employees Association

Principal, M Public Affairs

Annie Lydgate


Principal, M Public Affairs

Special Assistant, Budget Analyst, State Senate Independent Democratic Conference

Molly Marcy


Special Assistant, Budget Analyst, State Senate Independent Democratic Conference

Counsel, Bolton-St. Johns

John McCarthy


Counsel, Bolton-St. Johns

Director of Government Affairs, Empire State Pride Agenda

Matthew McMorrow


Director of Government Affairs, Empire State Pride Agenda

Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, State Attorney General’s Office

Michael Meade


Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, State Attorney General’s Office

Assistant Secretary to the University, State University of New York

Jennifer Mero


Assistant Secretary to the University, State University of New York

Manager of Digital Communications and Strategy, New York Power Authority

Deidrea Miller


Manager of Digital Communications and Strategy, New York Power Authority

Counsel and Legislative Director, State Sen. John Flanagan’s Office

Carl Mills III


Counsel and Legislative Director, State Sen. John Flanagan’s Office

Communications Specialist, State Senate Democratic Conference

Jonaliza Misa


Communications Specialist, State Senate Democratic Conference

Attorney, Harris Beach PLLC

Mitch Pawluk


Attorney, Harris Beach PLLC

Chief Counsel and Policy Director, State Sen. Brad Hoylman’s Office

Burton Phillips


Chief Counsel and Policy Director, State Sen. Brad Hoylman’s Office

Co-Director, New York StateWatch

Mike Poulopoulos


Co-Director, New York StateWatch

Manager, State Office for New Americans

Hattie Quarnstrom-Figueroa


Manager, State Office for New Americans

Assemblywoman

Diana Richardson


Assemblywoman

Political Strategist, Founder,  PR2Politics

Raven Robinson


Political Strategist, Founder, PR2Politics

Assistant Counsel, State Department of Health’s records access office

David Rozen


Assistant Counsel, State Department of Health’s records access office

Legislative Analyst, The Roffe Group P.C.

Caley Taratus


Legislative Analyst, The Roffe Group P.C.

Director of Legislative Affairs, State Department of Environmental Conservation

Julie Tighe


Director of Legislative Affairs, State Department of Environmental Conservation

Vice President, The Parkside Group

Paul Thomas


Vice President, The Parkside Group

Reporter, The Wall Street Journal

Mike Vilensky


Reporter, The Wall Street Journal

Vice President, MWBE Consultant, Capalino+Company

Tunisha Walker


Vice President, MWBE Consultant, Capalino+Company

Assistant Vice President of Public Policy,  Planning and Incentives, Empire State Development

Alison Walsh


Assistant Vice President of Public Policy, Planning and Incentives, Empire State Development

Interim Executive Director, State Black, Puerto Rican,  Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus

Nantasha Williams


Interim Executive Director, State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus

Assemblywoman

Angela Wozniak


Assemblywoman