WEOS Finger Lakes Public Radio

Karen DeWitt

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.

She is also a regular contributor to the statewide public television program about New York State government, New York Now. She appears on the reporter’s roundtable segment, and interviews newsmakers. 

Karen previously worked for WINS Radio, New York, and has written for numerous publications, including Adirondack Life and the Albany newsweekly Metroland.

She is a past recipient of the prestigious Walter T. Brown Memorial award for excellence in journalism, from the Legislative Correspondents Association, and was named Media Person of the Year for 2009 by the Women’s Press Club of New York State.

Karen is a graduate of the State University of New York at Geneseo.

Less than a month after the legislative session officially ended, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been calling for the state Senate to come back and work on what he says is unfinished business.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has just over $31 million in his campaign coffers, according to the most recent July filings.

That amount dwarfs the amount collected by his challengers, Democrat Cynthia Nixon and Republican Marc Molinaro, who each have less than a million dollars in their war chests.

Cuomo raised over $6 million from January to mid-July of this year, and spent nearly $5.4 million, most of that in the months since he gained Nixon, an actor and education activist, as a Democratic primary challenger.

A former New York state Senate leader and his son were convicted on Tuesday of extortion, wire fraud and bribery charges that they pressured businesses to give the son no-show jobs or else risk losing the powerful Republican's political support. 

A jury in federal court in Manhattan deliberated over the course of four days before reaching the verdict at the trial of Dean Skelos and his son, Adam. 

The trial was one of the most important in a spate of recent cases that have cast a harsh light on corruption in Albany. Former state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a Democrat, was convicted in May of corruption. 

Opponents to incumbent Andrew Cuomo in the 2018 governor’s race are continuing to weigh in on the corruption convictions of the former head of Cuomo’s economic development programs.

Stephanie Miner, an independent candidate for governor and the former Syracuse mayor, said it’s not just Cuomo and his administration who are to blame.

Primary challengers to a group of former breakaway Democrats in the state Senate have been gaining momentum lately, at least when it comes to campaign endorsements.

Many are encouraged by the June upset win of primary challenger, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, to longtime Queens Congressman Joe Crowley.

The Democratic primary challenger to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Cynthia Nixon, has challenged several of the candidates challenging former members of the Senate Independent Democratic Conference.


Jury convicts key players in Buffalo Billion corruption case

Jul 13, 2018

A federal jury in New York has convicted key players of corruption in Gov. Andrew Cuomo's "Buffalo Billion" economic redevelopment program.

The jury in Manhattan returned its verdict Thursday after a month-long trial put a spotlight on how lucrative contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars were awarded for redevelopment projects aimed at revitalizing upstate New York, particularly Syracuse and Buffalo.

Former Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner is entering the race for governor against incumbent Andrew Cuomo. The long time Democrat is the candidate for a newly formed political movement.

Miner, coming to the race relatively late, and with little money and name recognition outside of upstate New York, says she knows she faces an uphill battle.

“The challenges are clearly there,” said Miner, who said there is also an “opportunity” for a new message in what she says is a “toxic” political atmosphere.

Governor Cuomo says he plans within the next several days to file a lawsuit against the federal government over the treatment of immigrant children separated from their parents. He says around 70 children are being held at facilities in New York.

One day before the scheduled end of the legislative session, Governor Cuomo says he’s throwing in  the towel on remaining issues, saying Democrats and Republicans, who are evenly divided in the State Senate, are too dug in right now for compromise.

“I never expected a grand bargain,” said Cuomo.

Prosecutors and lawyers for the defense gave opening statements Monday in the bid rigging trial of a former associate of Governor Cuomo and two upstate  development firms, who are accused of fraudulently obtaining  lucrative taxpayer- funded state contracts.  

Meanwhile, Cuomo’s political opponents seized on the trial as evidence of what they say is corruption in the incumbent governor’s administration, while reform groups pressed for changes in New York’s laws.

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