Karen DeWitt

Capitol Bureau Chief, New York State Public Radio

Karen has covered state government and politics for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 New York and Connecticut stations, 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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Government
3:54 pm
Tue February 3, 2015

Heastie Elected As NY's First African-American Assembly Speaker

Newly-elected Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, D-Bronx, waves to the Assembly after his election at the Capitol on Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015, in Albany, N.Y. Heastie is the first African-American Speaker. He will lead a chamber that has been rocked by scandal. He succeeds Sheldon Silver, the longtime leader who resigned after being charged with taking nearly $4 million in payoffs and kickbacks.
Credit AP Photo/Mike Groll

Carl Heastie was elected unanimously by Democrats in the Assembly to be the next Speaker, less than two weeks after former Speaker Sheldon Silver was arrested and charged with  running a massive, multi-million dollar corruption scheme.

Heastie, the first African American speaker in the Assembly’s 237 year history, gave a brief speech to the chamber, where he  focused on moving on from the scandal brought on the Assembly by his predecessor. Heastie says the members have told him- they want change.

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Government
6:33 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Charges Against Silver Detailed; Assembly Democrats Close Ranks

New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is surrounded by media as he leaves a federal courthouse in New York, Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015. Silver, 70, was arrested Thursday on public corruption charges and accused of using his position to obtain millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks masked as legitimate income. A magistrate judge in federal court in Manhattan later released the lawmaker on $200,000 bail.
Credit AP Photo/Seth Wenig

N.Y. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is under arrest, and $3.8 million dollars in eight different bank accounts held by Silver have been seized, as federal prosecutors accuse him of running two fraudulent and corrupt schemes.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara laid out the charges against Silver, saying the Speaker used his "titanic " powers in office to amass a  "tremendous " personal fortune by running two separate schemes that involved millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks.

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NY State of the State
6:29 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

Cuomo Challenges Teachers, Lawmakers, In Budget Proposal

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivers his State of the State address and executive budget proposal at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center on Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015, in Albany, N.Y.
Credit AP Photo/Mike Groll

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo delivered his joint State of the State and budget message, proposing a $141.6 billion spending plan that in part sets up a show down with teachers and education advocates.

The governor wants 100 more charter schools and an overhaul of teacher evaluations, which he says are "baloney," because virtually all teachers are rated as adequate.

"98% of the teachers rated effective," Cuomo said. "Who are we kidding, my friends?"

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Government
6:14 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

Cuomo Introduces Property Tax Credit Plan

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks to reporters about a property tax credit proposal after a speech, Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015, at Hofstra University, in Hempstead, N.Y. Cuomo said cutting property taxes will be a top priority during his second term.
Credit AP Photo/Frank Eltman

Calling it the "major problem facing the state," Governor Cuomo announced a plan to reduce New York’s  highest in the nation rate of property taxes for some homeowners. But the program was not received with open arms by everyone.

Under Cuomo’s proposal, homeowners who pay 6 percent or more of their annual paychecks in taxes, will get a credit on their tax bills. Renters will also receive an equivalent credit.

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Government
8:27 am
Wed January 14, 2015

Women's Rights Bills Stalled for Third Year in Albany

The New York state Senate convenes on the opening day of the 2015 legislative session at the Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015, in Albany, N.Y. The Republican-controlled Senate has approved eight bills intended to ensure women's rights in the workplace and housing but excluded a ninth measure to codify abortion rights that the Democrat-controlled Assembly supports.
Credit AP Photo/Mike Groll

Women’s rights bills were once again debated in the legislature, but ended in a political stalemate, with none of the provisions coming any closer to passage by both houses.

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