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Video: Cuomo's push for new jobs and "college for cons"

Gov. Cuomo's recent visit to Buffalo focused on IBM's plan to bring 500 new jobs to the area. But The News' Bob McCarthy tells Brian Meyer that Cuomo was also asked about his controversial "college for cons" plan:

Trump to stump in Syracuse

   By Robert J. McCarthy

   Just when you wondered if Donald J. Trump's absence from headlines in recent days served as any kind of signal about his political future, he is about ready to surface in Syracuse.

   The billionaire developer and potential candidate for governor will highlight a fundraising event for the Onondaga County Republican Committee on March 11 at the Doubletree Hotel.

   Onondaga County Republican Chairman Thomas V. Dadey Jr., who has been a major Trump supporter, said he remains optimistic that Trump will seek and accept the nomination of the Republican Party against Democratic incumbent Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo this year.

   The event is expected to draw big crowds in the same manner as Trump's Jan. 31 appearance before the Erie County GOP.

   “I am confident that Mr. Trump will draw a big crowd and provide excitement to the race for governor that has not been seen in years," Dadey said.

Video: Jerry Zremski's Week in Washington

News Washington Bureau Chief Jerry Zremski is looking into proposed changes in Medicare Advantage and what impact cuts in the Defense Department budget will have on Western New York.

Friday's must-reads from Washington

By Jerry Zremski

WASHINGTON -- In today's top read, the Washington Post tells us that in President Obama's worldview, the age of austerity is over.

Meanwhile, The Hill reports that House Speaker John Boehner may be the biggest obstacle to a higher minimum wage.

And off the beaten path, Politico surveys the changed politics of late-night TV.

Grisanti petition boasts 5,000 opponents of college for cons plan

   By Robert J. McCarthy

   5,000 signatures.
   That's how many names have been added to a petition sponsored by State Sen. Mark J. Grisanti, R-Buffalo, opposing Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's plan to provide free college to state prison inmates.
   "The more signatures we can get, the stronger our message becomes," Grisanti said. "Reaching 5,000 signatures shows how impassioned Western New Yorkers are against this issue, and how supportive they are of middle-class taxpayers struggling to pay the increasing costs of higher education."
   The senator launched an electronic petition drive on Monday against the proposal, which calls for allowing inmates in 10 regional prisons to earn associate's and bachelor's degrees.


Video: Kennedy's flip to pro-choice stirs debate

State Sen. Timothy Kennedy has adopted a pro-choice position on abortion. The News' Bob McCarthy tells Brian Meyer the move has sparked criticism from Bishop Richard J. Malone:

Collins seeks to ban federal dollars for Cuomo college for convicts plan

   Rep. Chris Collins Thursday jacked up his opposition to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's proposal to provide college educations for prison inmates by introducing legislation blocking use of federal dollars for the program.

    Collins said the federal Bureau of Prisons provides states with funding for educational and other programs at state prisons and correctional facilities, adding his bill would ban states from using the money to fund college degree programs for convicted criminals. 

    “The governor’s latest plan to fund college educations for convicted criminals with New Yorkers’ tax dollars is an insult to law-abiding citizens all across our state,” he said. “We hear over and over again from politicians concerned about the growing cost of higher education and the amount of student debt our young people are sacked with after earning their degree. Strangely, many of these same politicians think tax dollars should be spent to give convicted criminals a free college degree.”

      Collins said he will formally introduce the legislation in the coming days. 

Wednesday's must-reads from Washington

By Jerry Zremski

WASHINGTON -- Just when you thought the national security state couldn't get any more up-close-and-personal, The Washington Post tells us that the Department of Homeland Security is planning a national license plate database.

Meanwhile, The New York Times reports that President Obama's vote-seeking tactics aren't helping his health care law.

And Reuters notes that the harsh winter weather could chill the economy.

Tuesday's must-reads from Washington

By Jerry Zremski

WASHINGTON -- I was in Buffalo and Syracuse last week, but I am back at my desk today and back with my must-reads.

Topping today's list is Politico's look at Rand Paul and his big plans for the Republican party.

Meanwhile, The New York Times tells us that a wealthy financier aims to try to sway public opinion on climate change.

And The Washington Post reports that student debt could be hampering the housing recovery.

Independence backs Grisanti; Thompson mulls primary

   By Robert J. McCarthy

The New York State Independence Party -- as expected -- announced its backing Thursday for re-election of Republican State Sen. Mark J. Grisanti of Buffalo this year.

   But tea party activist Rus Thompson of Grand Island -- who is enrolled in the Independence Party and is closely aligned with 2010 Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl P. Paladino -- said he may very well challenge Grisanti for the line in the Independence primary. He said he would also consider a challenge if Republican County Legislator Kevin R. Hardwick of the City of Tonawanda decides to enter a Republican primary against Grisanti.

   Thompson said he has made no final decision, but has the ability to qualify for the ballot as a registered member of Independence.

   Meanwhile state Independence Chairman Frank MacKay followed his 2012 backing for Grisanti wtih another endorsement this year.

    "We are confident that Senator Grisanti will be successful in November, and the Independence Party will gladly provide our endorsement, support, resources, and anything else that he needs to continue to be an independent voice for the people of Western New York," said MacKay.


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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 |