Karen DeWitt

Capitol Bureau Correspondent

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.

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The New York State Comptroller, Tom DiNapoli says his office needs better oversight of state economic development contracts, in light of a corruption scandal that’s led to criminal charges against Governor Cuomo’s former top aide, other Cuomo Administration associates and two major upstate developers.

WXXI’s Karen DeWitt sat down with DiNapoli this week for an interview with public radio and television to talk about that and other topics, including a drop in state revenues of nearly three quarter of a billion dollars so far this year, and his predictions for the elections.

After several years of budget surpluses, New York state tax revenue is coming in at a lower-than-expected rate.

That could affect big-ticket programs like school aid and health care as well as a multi-year tax cut planned by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislators.

Income tax collections are down nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars from what Cuomo’s budget division projected in April, at the start of the state’s fiscal year.

With less than three weeks before Election Day, Hillary Clinton is even further ahead of Donald Trump in New York state, and that could affect downballot races, including seats for the state Senate.  

Pipeline companies aren’t having a lot of success in New York so far in 2016.

Opponents say they are dirty and continue New York’s overreliance on fossil fuels, and two projects have already been canceled. A pipeline company representative, however, said the projects are not as harmful as opponents claim and are essential for the state’s current electric needs. 

Until recently, expanding and building pipelines was not terribly controversial, as most people agreed that there was a common need to transport oil and gas for fuel and electricity.

State lawmakers with disabled children, along with people with developmental disabilities and their caregivers, rallied Monday at the State Capitol for more money in the budget to pay caregivers a living wage. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature approved a gradual minimum wage increase to $15 an hour downstate and $12.50 an hour upstate, saying mega-companies like McDonald’s and Burger King can afford to pay their workers more.

Reform groups say in light of the criminal charges against some of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s former associates, there are a number of changes that should be made to stop more corruption in the future.

The federal charges of bid-rigging and bribery center on Cuomo’s key economic development programs, including the Buffalo Billion.

Assemblyman Bill Nojay, 59, has died, four days before he faced a Republican primary for his 133rd Assembly District seat. Nojay took his own life at Riverside Cemetery on Lake Avenue in Rochester.

At a noon news conference, Rochester Police said that they were called out to the cemetery at 9:22 a.m. Friday to "check the welfare" of a person at the cemetery. Police confirmed later in the afternoon that the person was Nojay, and said the reporting officer saw Nojay shoot himself.

Assembly GOP Leader Brian Kolb, expressed sadness and shock.


The New York State Senate is expected to soon announce a date for a hearing on how the Cuomo administration handled drinking water contamination in Hoosick Falls. It comes as new studies out this week show more harmful effects from exposure to the chemical PFOA on mothers and their children. 

On Day Three of the Democratic National Convention, Casey Seiler of the Times Union and Karen DeWitt of New York Public Radio sit down with the chief strategist for the Senate Democrats' efforts to retake the State Senate, Senator Mike Gianaris of Queens.

How are the Bernie Sanders delegates feeling after Monday's tumultuous day at the DNC revolving around Hillary Clinton's primary challenger? Casey Seiler of the Times Union and Karen DeWitt of New York Public Radio talk to two Bernie delegates from New York, Assemblyman Phil Steck and working mother Josephine Moore, to find out.