News, views and commentary on Long Island, state and national politics
BloggersDan Janison Rick Brand Tom Brune Robert Brodsky Paul LaRocco Yancey Roy Celeste Hadrick
Rick Brand, a Newsday reporter for nearly three decades, writes about politics and government on Long Island.
The veteran reporter has covered a variety of assignments for Newsday in Washington, Albany and around the country and was part of the Long Island staff that won the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for the paper’s coverage of the crash of TWA Flight 800.
During his career, Brand has been the paper’s lead reporter covering Suffolk county government, and spent three years as the paper’s beat reporter covering LILCO during the height of the controversy over the Shoreham nuclear power plant. He has also headed the paper’s East End bureau and even spent a summer doing a gossip column on the Hampton’s social whirl.
Brand had also worked several stints in Newsday’s Albany Bureau during the Carey and Cuomo administrations. He covered the upset victory of Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, Long Island’s first woman congresswoman, and the 1997 U.S. Senate battle between Alfonse D'Amato and Chuck Schumer and part of the marathon Senate campaign that led to the election of Hillary Clinton.
Before joining Newsday, Brand, a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, worked as news editor of Suffolk Life Newspapers and as a reporter for the Long Island News and the Buffalo Courier Express.
ALBANY -- Two powerful Democratic leaders are pushing bills that would provide paid family leave for workers struck by serious illness, to take care of sick relatives, or for the birth or adoption of a child.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) released his majority conference’s package of bills on Wednesday. It includes a measure that would require employers to purchase paid family...Read more »
Heading into this new election season, a union that regularly contributes to political campaigns suddenly finds itself swamped in the New Jersey-based scandal over those now-infamous George Washington Bridge lane closings.
The political implications of this span the Hudson River. In New York, the union, the Port Authority Police Benevolent Association, donated tens of thousands of dollars...Read more »
ALBANY -- Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo promised to fully fund charter schools and help them thrive just days after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio cut some resources to those schools in the city.
"I am committed to ensuring charter schools have the financial capacity, the physical space and the government support to thrive and to grow," Cuomo said Tuesday.
Cuomo's unexpected comments came...Read more »
ALBANY -- Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, a Republican, is expected to make it official Wednesday that he is challenging Democratic Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.
"Announcing decision on whether to run for governor of NY in video news release Wednesday," Astorino wrote on his Twitter account Tuesday. "Time and details to follow. Please Stay tuned!"
Astorino has been hinting for weeks...Read more »
The prospect of a rate increase for PSEG Long Island customers in 2016 has energized the state AARP and local seniors to demand establishment of an independent utility advocate for consumers to push back in rate cases and other matters.
Seniors and AARP leaders are scheduled to rally Wednesday morning at the Rockville Centre offices of State Sen. Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) to demand...Read more »
ALBANY -- Thousands of demonstrators descended on Albany Tuesday to hold rallies and demonstrations on several public education issues, including pre-kindergarten and charter schools.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio headlined a rally to bolster his flagging priority of expanding pre-kindergarten in the city by increasing income taxes on wealthy residents of the five boroughs.
Cuomo...Read more »
ALBANY -- Mayor Bill de Blasio and state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver on Tuesday opened the door to considering Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s insistence on state funding, rather than raising a city tax, to pay for expansion of prekindergarten.
“I’m open to significant, recurring, sustainable funding, however you do it,” Silver said in an interview after a raucous rally in Albany with de Blasio....Read more »
The Smithtown fiasco that led Supervisor Patrick Vecchio and board member Lynne Nowick to see their elected terms essentially nullified would be fixed under legislation submitted to both houses of the state legislature. But while the GOP has the clout to push the bill through in the Senate, Republican Michael Fitzpatrick is the Assembly sponsor, and he's in a small party minority there. Presumably,...Read more »
ALBANY -- Senate co-leader Dean Skelos said Monday that he won't rule out joining the Assembly in a bill that would delay teacher evaluations for two years under the Common Core curriculum, setting up a possible legislative fight with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo over the heated issue.
Cuomo refuses to delay the teacher evaluations. He has created a commission with members of the Senate and Assembly...Read more »
ALBANY - State Senate co-leader Dean Skelos is rushing to the defense of charter schools he said are threatened by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) said Monday he will defend charter schools in New York City against de Blasio by wielding the powerful state budget process.
And as an exclamation point, Skelos said de Blasio’s proposal to raise a city income...Read more »