Winners & Losers

This week’s biggest Winners & Losers

Who’s up and who’s down this week?

Albany had its dysfunction up and running for the very first day of the new legislative session, with drama from late last year finally set to conclude as lawmakers return to work. But in a strange turn of events, Washington wound up out-dysfunctioning the New York Capitol as Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy lost not one, not two, but ELEVEN (at last count) floor votes to become speaker. Without the speaker in place, members can’t get sworn in and the work of Congress sort of grinds to a stop. At least in Albany, legislative leaders got voted in by members of their party with no issue so they can move on to the real controversial issues like the Court of Appeals chief judge nomination and whether to expel a member.


Stacey Pheffer Amato -

Maybe she was just waiting until all this nepo baby coverage to blow over? But Pfeffer Amato, the daughter of the Assembly Member who used to hold the seat, was finally declared victor two months after the election, by just 15 votes. The red wave didn’t cross the bay, and the Democrat can hitch a ride from Rockaway Beach back to Albany, where she just got named chair of the governmental employees committee for the first time.

Andrea Stewart-Cousins & Carl Heastie -

Haven’t you heard the saying: New Year, new pay? Congratulations are in order for state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a bill giving state lawmakers a $32,000 pay raise from their annual $110,000 salary. With the increase, New York lawmakers are officially the highest paid state legislators in the country.

Hakeem Jeffries -

House Democrats are consistent. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of Brooklyn got the support of every one for speaker of the House time and time again as Republicans failed to pick a leader. The Democratic conference took a page out of Jeffries’ playbook: Remain cool and calm. Don’t make a scene. We once called Jeffries “boring as hell” on our cover, saying that’s one of his greatest strengths. Have you ever heard your name spoken by 212 people 11 times? Sounds pretty darn boring in a good kind of way. 


Eric Adams -

Someone at the New York City Department of Health has got it out for Mayor Eric Adams. Either that, or Adams is just really, really bad at getting rid of rats – a promise on which he has staked a not insignificant piece of his legacy. The mayor received two additional tickets for signs of a continued rat infestation at the Brooklyn home that he owns, though he plans to fight them and avoid fines, as he did a similar summons last year. Still, Adams might want to get a jump on hiring that rat czar of his. Maybe the badass rat-killer could share some tips before the mayor has to spend any more time before the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings.

Nicholas Scalzo -

There’s absolutely no defending New York City police officer Nicholas Scalzo who was suspended without pay after he was caught in a video repeatedly punching a 14-year-old girl as he and another officer attempted to stop an after-school fight on Staten Island. While a police spokesperson claims that she hit him first – though the teen says she only did so after he pushed her – it’s obvious in the video that the onslaught he unleashed on her head was shockingly severe. This isn’t even the first time he’s been disciplined either – the city settled a lawsuit in 2015 in which Scalzo was accused of allegedly assaulting attendees at a memorial party.

Ashwin Vasan -

Whether or not there was ever arsenic in the water at NYCHA’s Riis Houses shouldn’t be such a mystery. But the question was raised again when The City reported on elevated arsenic levels in a now-dead tenant’s blood. It didn’t necessarily kill Josefa Bonet, but her family and doctor’s concerns were dismissed by New York City Health Commissioner Ashwin Vasan, and now his agency’s in the spotlight.