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Senate GOP pushing tax, spending controls

ALBANY -– Two State Senate committees have approved legislation to control state spending and taxation -– measures that face a questionable life in the Assembly.

One measure, sponsored by Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer, an Erie County Republican, would cap the annual growth of state spending at 2 percent, or 120 percent of the inflation rate, whichever is lower.

The other, sponsored by freshman Sen. Lee Zeldin, a Long Island Republican, would require a two-thirds majority vote of both legislative houses for any bill that raises or extends specific taxes or fees.

The proposals, set to pass the Senate Wednesday, would be amendments to the state constitution -– meaning they would have to be passed by a successive state legislative body before going to voters in a statewide referendum. The earliest such a referendum could take place is November 2013.

Most Democrats in the Senate committees opposed the measure. “It’s premature,’’ Sen. Suzi Oppenheimer, a Westchester County Democrat, said of the spending cap proposal; she said the issue needs more study.

-- Tom Precious

Cuomo appoints ethics panel members

ALBANY -- Gov. Andrew Cuomo has tapped three people to serve on the board of the state's chief ethics agency that oversees everything from the conduct of current and former state workers to the activities of Albany's large lobbying industry.

Here's the release his office just put out:

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the following appointments to the Commission on Public Integrity:

Mitra Hormozi is appointed to serve as Chairperson of the Commission. Ms. Hormozi spent more than six years as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, where she was the Chief of the Organized Crime and Racketeering Section. Ms. Hormozi successfully prosecuted numerous high profile and difficult cases, including the conviction at trial of the Boss of the Bonnano Crime Family and the conviction at trial of the 2006 "Mafia Cops" case, involving two retired police detectives who acted as hit men for the mob. For her work as a federal prosecutor, Ms. Hormozi received numerous top law enforcement awards. After leaving the U.S. Attorney's Office, Ms. Hormozi served in the New York Attorney General's Office where she coordinated major initiatives related to public integrity and consumer fraud, and had oversight of regional office initiatives. In addition, Ms. Hormozi was responsible for the investigation of former Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada, and was designated as Special Assistant United States Attorney in connection with a federal prosecution of Mr. Espada. Earlier in her career, Ms. Hormozi was an associate in the litigation department of Kronish, Lieb, Weiner & Hellman, and served as an Honors Attorney for the United States Department of Commerce in Washington, D.C.

Ms. Hormozi is a graduate of the University of Michigan and New York University School of Law.

Richard J. Bartlett is appointed to serve as a member of the Commission. Mr. Bartlett is a partner at Bartlett, Pontiff, Stewart & Rhodes PC in Glens Falls. He concentrates his practice on general litigation in Federal and State Courts. Mr. Bartlett was a Member and Chair of the New York State Board of Law Examiners. He is a former Dean and Professor of Law of Albany Law School of Union University. Mr. Bartlett was a New York State Supreme Court Justice and was Chief Administrative Judge of New York. Mr. Bartlett served as a Delegate to the New York Constitutional Convention in 1967 and was Chair of the New York Penal Law Revision Commission. Mr. Bartlett was a Member of the New York Assembly from 1959-1966, and was minority whip in his last year. Mr. Bartlett received the first Charles Evans Hughes Award presented by the Warren County Bar Association for his outstanding dedication to the law and public service in 2002. In 2004, he received the New York State Bar Association Gold Medal, the association's highest award. Mr. Bartlett was a Captain in the United States Air Force, JAG during the Korean War.

Mr. Bartlett graduated from Georgetown University and received his LLB from Harvard Law School.

Vernon Broderick is appointed to serve as a member of the Commission. Mr. Broderick is a partner at Weil, Gotshal, & Manges LLP who concentrates his practice on white collar criminal investigations and prosecutions, regulatory investigations and proceedings, and business litigation. Mr. Broderick's practice also includes representing clients in civil business litigation, many of which are parallel or related proceedings filed in connection with criminal and regulatory matters. Mr. Broderick also handles complex civil cases, including matters involving breach of fiduciary duty and securities fraud. Mr. Broderick was an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York for eight years. While at the United States Attorney's Office, he served as chief of the Violent Gangs Unit.

Mr. Broderick graduated from Yale University, and received his J.D. from Harvard Law School.

The Commission on Public Integrity consists of thirteen members: seven members, including the Chair are selected by the Governor and six members are appointed by the Governor on the recommendation of the Attorney General, the Comptroller, and the four Legislative leaders. No more than four of the seven members appointed by the Governor can belong to the same political party.

These appointees will not receive a salary and their appointments do not require Senate confirmation.

-- Tom Precious

Cuomo reports $4.2 million in campaign bank

ALBANY –- Gov. Andrew Cuomo took a relative breather from the fundraising circuit since his November election, but he still has a campaign warchest of $4.2 million.

The Democratic governor’s campaign today reported with the state elections board that it raised $218,000 in the period between Nov. 25 and Jan. 14. It spent $1 million during the period.

The $4.2 million balance is down from the $5 million he had on hand at the end of November.

Cuomo has said he will dip into his campaign account to run a counter-advertising campaign if critics, such as labor unions, mount ad campaigns against his upcoming budget. Such past ad campaigns by groups like health and public employee unions have put a dent in the political popularity of former governors.

Since the end of November, Cuomo's major donations include $25,000 from Buffalo lawyer Steven Weiss, $5,000 apiece from Buffalo companies with the same address named ETC Commercial Inc., and Mineola Contracting Ltd., and $25,000 apiece from Long Island-based Jackson Builders and New Yorkers for Affordable Housing. Several members of the wealthy Jacobs family in Buffalo reported a total of $4,500 of in-kind contributions to Cuomo; the New Jersey State Laborers' Political Political Action Committee gave Cuomo a $24,000 in-kind contribution.

The nearly $1 million in expenses were for a variety of costs -- from restaurants and hotels to airline tickets and consultants. The expenses included $47,000 to the state of New York for costs associated with Cuomo's January 1 inaugural. 

The spending also saw continuation of a recent tradition by winning governors to use surplus campaign funds to pay out bonuses to campaign workers. The top winner was Joseph Percoco, who was given a $90,000 bonus, followed by Andrew Zambelli, who got $80,000. In all more than $400,000 in bonuses were given by Cuomo. Most of the money went to people now on his state payroll; the bonuses more than make up for the recent 5 percent pay cuts Cuomo said his top advisors would take in their government pay as a symbol for upcoming sacrifices he says he will seek from about 200,000 state workers in the upcoming budget.

-- Tom Precious

A painful start of the week for Cuomo

ALBANY –- Which is more painful? Root canal or closing a $10 billion budget gap?

Gov. Andrew Cuomo hasn’t closed the fiscal red ink yet, but he now knows what an un-fun experience a root canal procedure can be.

Cuomo had the dental surgery, with local anesthetic, on Monday.

The Cuomo administration Tuesday wasn’t keen on providing much in the way of information –- like even where the procedure was performed.

The next painful task: getting a reluctant State Legislature to go along with his plans -– due out Feb. 1 -– to erase the deficit with cuts to education, health care and the state workforce.

There is no local anesthetic for that procedure.

Lingering pain or not, Cuomo is scheduled tonight to have the Republicans who control the state Senate over to the governor's mansion as another phase in his legislative reach-out campaign.

-- Tom Precious

Audio: Jerry Zremski looks at week ahead in Washington

A House vote to repeal health-care reform highlights the week ahead in Washington, D.C.

I spoke with Buffalo News Washington Bureau Chief Jerry Zremski about what's happening in the nation's capital.

In addition to Wednesday's expected vote in the House, we also talked national debt, next week's State of the Union and a few other things.

Listen to our conversation:

Download the mp3 here.

Here's Jerry's recent story on the new Republican National Committee chairman. Review his live blog during the voting.

Make sure to also follow @JerryZremski on Twitter.

--Aaron Besecker

Live blogging the race for Republican chairman

Incumbent Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, left, talks with former RNC official Maria Cino as they participate in a debate between chairmanship candidates of the RNC, co-sponsored by Americans for Tax Reform and the Daily Caller, at the National Press Club on Jan. 3 in Washington, DC. (Getty Images)

In what one wag likened to a papal conclave -- mixed with a figure skating contest scored by Russian judges -- the Republican National Committee today will choose its chairman for the next two years.

5:19 p.m. Breaking: Reince Preibus, the Wisconsin Republican chairman, won the top spot on the Republican National Committee in the seventh round of voting.

Preibus finished with 97 votes, 12 more than he needed for victory. Saul Anuzis of Michigan finished second with 43, and Buffalo native Maria Cino finished third with 28.

5:00 p.m.: Ann Wagner, a Missouri Republican leader, withdrew from the race for RNC chairman just before the critical seventh round of voting.

Unlike outgoing RNC Chairman Michael Steele -- who endorsed Buffalo native Maria Cino when he withdrew earlier this afternoon -- Wagner did not endorse another candidate from the podium.

The seventh-round roll call just began with three candidates: front-runner Reince Priebus of Wisconsin, former Michigan GOP chairman Saul Anuzis and Cino.

4:48 p.m.:Reince Priebus, the Wisconsin GOP chairman, appears to be closing in on victory in the race for National Republican Committee chairman -- while support for Buffalo native Maria Cino slipped in the sixth round of voting.

Priebus finished the round with 80 votes, a mere five short of the total needed for victory. Saul Anuzis of Michigan, who had finished in last place in early rounds of voting, was second with 37 votes.

Cino was in third place with 34 votes, six fewer than she had in the fifth round. Ann Wagner of Missouri finished fourth in the sixth round with 17 votes.

4:32 p.m.: Sixth-round voting has begun, and it remains a four-person race. Neither Saul Anuzis nor Ann Wagner, the low-finishing candidates in the fifth round, opted to withdraw.

4:30 p.m.: The fifth round of voting proved that the power of an endorsement may not always be all that powerful.

With Michael Steele releasing his 28 votes and asking supporters to back Buffalo native Maria Cino, she gained only 11 votes. The front-runner, Reince Priebus, gained nine. And Saul Anuzis, the last-place finisher in each previous round, gained eight.

Between rounds, Anuzis met with Ann Wagner, who was last in the fifth round with 28 votes. Meanwhile, the word is that the forces of House Speaker John Boehner are still pressing hard for Cino.

4:17 p.m.: Reince Priebus of Wisconsin gained nine votes in wake of Michael Steele's departure from the race, while Buffalo's Maria Cino -- whom Steele endorsed -- gained 11.

In the fifth round of voting, Priebus remained in the lead with 67 votes, 18 shy of the total needed for victory. Cino was second with 40, followed by Saul Anuzis of Michigan with 32 and Ann Wagner of Missouri with 28.

3:59 p.m. Fifth round voting has begun, and it will surely be the first in some time to show major movement, given Michael Steele's departure from the race and his endorsement of Buffalo's Maria Cino.

Steele delivered a graceful departure, acknowledging his tenure had created tensions at the RNC.

"This storm, you cannot allow to continue," he said.

Committee members gave Steele a standing ovation as he departed with the words: "And now I exit, stage right."

Steele's departure could have an unpredictable impact on the race. It's uncertain that his voters will move in mass to Cino, and hard to predict how other committee members may be swayed by his endorsement.

Strangely, Steele left the stage without ever explaining why he endorsed Cino.

3:53 p.m.: BREAKING: Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele just took to the podium and withdrew from the race -- and urged his supporters to support Buffalo's Maria Cino for the chairmanship.

"I am withdrawing because the party is ready for something different," Steele said.

3:40 p.m.: Maria Cino edged into second place in the race for Republican chairman in fourth-round voting.

Reince Priebus of Wisconsin continued to lead, and gained four votes, to 58. Cino gained one vote, to 29, but she was tightly bunched with the rest of the field.

Current RNC Chairman Michael Steele and Ann Wagner were tied at 28, with Saul Anuzis of Michigan at 24.

Looks like a long afternoon ahead of us here.

3:28 p.m.: Fourth round voting has begun, and still none of the five candidates have dropped out.

3:08 p.m. Buffalo's Maria Cino fell to fourth place in third-round voting for Republican National Committee chairman.

Reince Preibus of Wisconsin had 54 votes in the third round, followed by current RNC Chairman Michael Steele with 33. Ann Wagner of Missouri edged ahead of Cino with 32 votes. Cino finished with 28, with Saul Anuzis of Michigan finishing with 21.

Cino's continued loss of votes is not a good sign for her. But even more notable are two trends: Priebus is gaining votes very slowly and does not have the strong momentum he would want at this point. And Steele is holding far more votes than had been expected.

This bodes for a long race, of many ballots -- unless some of the candidates opt to drop out, perhaps after cutting deals with stronger candidates.

2:50 p.m.: Third round voting has just begun and it is clear that the Republican National Committee members are getting tired of the dragged-out nature of the proceedings. By voice vote, they just decided to shorten the time between votes from 20 minutes to 10 minutes.

That means the candidates and their supporters will have half as much time between votes to try to swing committee members to their side. And it means I will be updating this blog more frequently.

2:27 p.m.: Buffalo's Maria Cino lost two votes in the second round of voting, finishing with 30.

Reince Priebus of Wisconsin added seven votes to his total, moving up to 52. Current RNC Chairman Michael Steele lost seven votes, finishing the second round with 37.

Ann Wagner of Missouri gained four votes: she got 27 votes in the second round. Saul Anuzis of Michigan lost two votes and trailed the pack with 22 in the second round.

2:08 p.m.: Mario Cino's campaign manager, Chad Kolton, conceded he's surprised and pleased with the Buffalo native's strong first-round showing in the race for Republican chairman.

Still, he remained cautious.

"Everybody ought to take the first ballot with a grain of salt," he said.

Kolton also said he does not expect any of the five candidates to drop out until at least the third round.

1:46 p.m. Buffalo's Maria Cino finished a strong and unexpected third in the first round of balloting for Republican National Committee chair.

Cino picked up 32 votes. Wisconsin GOP Chairman Reince Priebus led with 45 votes, followed by current national party Chairman Michael Steele with 44. Saul Anuzis of Michigan trailed badly with 24, as did Ann Wagner of Missouri, who recorded 23 votes.

Steele's strong showing is widely seen as a symbolic "thank-you" for his two years of service on the committee. His total is expected to fall in the next round.

Now the intrigue begins. Among the questions: Where will Steele's supporters go? And will either Anuzis or Wagner drop out before the next round of voting?

1:07 p.m.: Ohio Republican Chairman Kevin DeWine just placed Maria Cino's name into nomination for Republican National Committee chairman.

Noting the party faces "daunting challenges," such as eliminating a $20 million debt and preparing to run a presidential campaign of Democrat Barack Obama, DeWine said: "This is the time for a quiet, effective, experienced chairman. I am confident that Maria Cino is that person."

DeWine said Cino is by far the most prepared candidate, having worked in and around the RNC for nearly 30 years and having helped run two successful GOP presidential campaigns, the 2000 and 2004 races of George W. Bush.

New York State Republican Chair Ed Cox was among those seconding Cino's nomination. Recounting her experience and noting that she "ran a great convention" for the party in 2008, Cox urged committee members to vote for "Maria Cino from gritty Buffalo" for party chairman.

The first round of voting for GOP chairman is expected to begin shortly.

11:23 a.m.: Maria Cino said this morning that she's excited and energized as members of the Republican National Committee gather to choose the party's new chairman.

"We feel pretty good," said Cino, one of five candidates for the post. "We had a great week. Some key people announced their support, such as Speaker Boehner, which was very nice."

House Speaker John Boehner endorsed Cino on Wednesday, and Cino supporters hope that will give her candidacy a big boost.

The committee is meeting now, handling procedural business. Committee members now say they don't expect the first vote for chairman to come until about 1 p.m.

Voting is expected to continue through several rounds before a candidate gets the 85 votes needed for victory. Langworthy crop

Given the muliple-ballot nature of the race, "the goal should be to be everybody's  
second choice," said Erie County Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy (pictured at right), who traveled to the RNC winter meeting to support Cino.

10:57 a.m.: The 168 committee members are gathering now in a vast conference room at National Harbor, a sprawling hotel and convention center alongside the Potomac River in Maryland, just outside of Washington D.C. I am in the press section, and will be here all day -- and perhaps into the night -- live blogging the race.

One of the candidates for GOP chairman is North Buffalo's own Maria Cino, a longtime Republican politico who ran the National Republican Congressional Committee when the GOP won control of the House in 1994.

But the favorite remains Reince Priebus, the Wisconsin GOP chair who led his party to a landslide win last November.

And the unfavorite remains Michael S. Steele, the headline-grabbing chairman for the past two years who has left the party with a $20 million debt: committee members said they see no way in which Steele can win re-election.

Other candidates are Saul Anuzis, a former Michigan party chair, and Ann Wagner, a longtime GOP activist from Missouri.

The comparison to a papal conclave comes from the numerous rounds of secret balloting that usually take place before any one candidate grabs the 85 votes needed to win. And the committee wins comparison to Russian figure skating judges just because its decisions can be very difficult to handicap.

I will blog at the end of each round of balloting, with the first vote expected to come around noon or slightly earlier.

With 43 public supporters, Priebus -- who has won backing from both longtime GOP leaders and tea party activists -- is clearly ahead.

But with nearly a third of the national committee members being women, a strong female candidate could emerge, even though both Cino and Wagner have lagged in the effort to garner public supporters.

Cino has some big names behind her -- most notably House Speaker John Boehner and former Vice President Dick Cheney.

This has led her to be branded the establishment candidate. And that label, combined with her recent work as a lobbyist for the Pfizer drug conglomerate, have kept her in the back of the pack so far, with about a dozen public supporters.

--Jerry Zremski

Boehner endorses Cino to chair RNC

   WASHINGTON  -- House Speaker John Boehner Wednesday endorsed North Buffalo
native Maria Cino in her race to chair the Republican National Committee for
the next two years, saying she "knows what it takes to win."

   Boehner, the most powerful elected Republican in the country, also planned to hold a
reception tonight for Cino and the 168 members of the Republican National Committee,
who will elect a new party chairman later this week.

   The reception was scheduled to start an hour before the Tucson memorial service for
victims of Saturday's mass shooting. Boehner turned down President Obama's
invitation to join him at the memorial service, instead opting to attend the
previously scheduled reception.

   Cino is by far the best candidate to head the party, Boehner said in a
letter to committee members.

   "Maria's experience combined with her plans to register new voters, invest
in technology and support state party programs will assure donors that their
money will produce results," Boehner said.

   "Under her leadership as chairman, I am confident the RNC will once again
raise and effectively spend the funds needed to win the battle of ideas with
President Obama and his Democrat allies."

   The impact of Boehner's endorsement remains unclear. While the new speaker
is enormously popular with party figures in Washington, GOP leaders from
around the country -- who will vote for party chairman -- have been known to
exert their independence in leadership votes when a Republican president is
not pushing a candidate.

   Boehner's endorsement, combined with earlier support from former Vice
President Dick Cheney and longtime GOP talking head Mary Matalin, make Cino
the establishment candidate for the job.

   But as of Wednesday, only 12 of the Republican committee members have
publicly declared support for her. And GOP sources allied with the tea party
movement have criticized Cino for her ties to the big-spending George W. Bush
administration and her recent work as a lobbyist for the Pfizer drug

   Still, Cino could not have asked for a more glowing recommendation from a
more prominent Republican.

   Describing Cino as "exceptionally politically savvy," Boehner wrote: "The
race for RNC Chairman includes several experienced individuals with histories
of service to our country and our party who want to take on this challenge.
 But one of them stands out as having the most experience in leading the type
change the RNC leadership needs: Maria Cino."

   Boehner noted that he had worked with Cino for nearly 20 years. He credited
her with bringing the GOP its first House majority in 40 years when she ran
the Republican National Congressional Committee, and with managing the party's
successful 2008 convention in St. Paul, Minn.

   Republican sources said Boehner was also making phone calls on Cino's
behalf to RNC members.

   A graduate of Mount St. Joseph Academy and St. John Fisher College, Cino,
53,is one of five candidates to head the RNC.

   Michael S. Steele, whose two-year term as RNC chair has been marked by
controversial statements and lagging fundraising that's left a $20 million
debt at the party, is not expected to win re-election.

   The favorite in the race is Reince R. Priebus, the state party chair who
led Wisconsin Republicans to control in the State Legislature while also
winning the governorship, a U.S. Senate seat and several House seats last

-- Jerry Zremski

Paladino vs. Dicker, Round 2

Albany -- It's the incident that keeps on giving, apparently.

You'll recall the Carl Paladino run-in with the New York Post's Fred Dicker last fall at a Lake George resort before the then-GOP candidate for governor was to address the Business Council of New York State?

Now, the reporters at the Capitol who put on the annual Legislative Correspondents Association annual show mocking the doings of Albany are using the meltdown incident -- albeit with a tad bit different audio track -- as advertising for its 2011 gala.

A warning for viewers: It is for immature audiences only. Watch it here.

-- Tom Precious

Gillibrand on Air Force One with Obama

    WASHINGTON -- Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand is traveling on Air Force One with President Obama this afternoon to attend tonight's memorial service for the victims of the Saturday shooting in Tuscon that killed six and wounded 14, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz.

    Gillibrand, a close friend of Giffords, will also visit the gravely wounded congresswoman, her husband, other victims and their loved ones and hospital staff.

    As she left, the senator released the following statement:   

    “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said that only in moments of darkness, can we see the stars. I hope in this time of sadness and loss, we can find new strength to come together as a nation and foster greater respect for one another.

    “We may never make any sense of this heinous crime, but I remember how Gabby so often urged people  to stand up to the violent language that divides us, and focus on solutions. That is exactly what we need to do right now.

    “I want to thank President Obama for his compassionate leadership at this time of great national tragedy.  My thoughts and prayers are with all the victims of this horrible tragedy, their loved ones, and with all Americans as we struggle to move forward together.”

-- Jerry Zremski

Rep. Tom Reed -- R-Wild West?

NY House Reporters wanted to know: Does Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning, believe in any limits on gun ownership?

In wake of Saturday's shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, an Arizona Democrat, Reed just wasn't saying.

In a conference call on Tuesday, Reed, in his second month in Congress, repeatedly fended off questions about gun control with a refrain he kept repeating, with slight variations.

"There will come a time and place when that kind of discussion is appropriate," Reed said -- adding that when it is, he will be guided by one principle.

"You know my feelings about the Second Amendment," which, according to the U.S. Supreme Court, guarantees the individual right to keep and bear arms. "To me it's an individual, fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution. This tragedy hasn't changed my philosophy and my belief in that principle of the Constitution."

Reporters pressed on, asking more detailed questions about if and when guns should be regulated. But when asked if what happened in Arizona should lead to more gun control measures, Reed wasn't budging.

"To react to a tragedy sometimes leads to knee-jerk policy-making," he said. "I am not a supporter of that....To me, those discussions need to be at a time and place where the emotion and spotlight is not generating the policy."

Reed then added that tougher gun control might not have stopped Jared Loughner, the accused shooter in the Arizona massacre, which claimed six lives.

"A crazy man such as the man in Arizona could get a weapon illegally, he said. "There are weapons out there, they're part of our society, part of our world. We could have all the regulations in the world and a crazy guy like this guy could get the weapon and do what he is gong to do. The regulatory aspect to me is not appropriate."

In fact, Reed indicated that government intervention may not be appropriate to determine whether someone is psychologically stable enough to own a gun.

"Are we going to trust the police to go into every person's house and do a field visit and sit down and hire a psychiatrist to come in and say that, oh, yep, that person's sane and therefore can get a gun?

That's the slippery slope we get going on," Reed said.

A reporter then asked what weapons the government should regulate -- "Is it a bazooka, a ground-to-air missile, would you license anythng at all?"

To which Reed replied: "Those are issues we're going to get into...As that debate comes up wil have that discussion. But I start the whole discussion process with my belief that the Second Amendment is an individual, fundamental right, just as the Supreme Court has agreed."

How about regulating "cop-killer" bullets?

"I start the conversation with an upfront position that I stand with the Second Amendment as an individual, fundamental right. We'll talk to the police and see that they're protected," Reed added.

But Reed was, grudgingly, willing to make one concession to those who oppose anything-goes gun sales.

"If you have someone in a mental health institution applying for a gun license, would I advocate for that person? Probably not," Reed concluded.

-- Jerry Zremski

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About Politics Now

Robert J. McCarthy

Robert J. McCarthy

A native of Schenectady, Robert J. McCarthy came to The Buffalo News in 1982 following a six-year stint at the Olean Times Herald. He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and has been covering local, state and national politics since 1992.

Tom Precious

Tom Precious

Tom Precious joined The Buffalo News in 1997 as bureau chief at the state Capitol, where he covers everything from statewide politics and state government fiscal affairs to health care, environmental and municipal government matters. Prior to The News, he worked for news outlets in Albany and Washington, DC.

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri is an Amherst native and has covered politics and government in upstate New York since 2003. She joined The Buffalo News in 2012 and covers City Hall.

@jillterreri |

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski, The Buffalo News Washington bureau chief, has reported from the nation's capital since 1989 after joining The News as a business reporter in 1984. A graduate of Syracuse University, Zremski is a former Nieman fellow in journalism at Harvard University. In 2007, he served as president of the National Press Club.

@JerryZremski |