City & State’s best Q&As of 2019
City & State’s best Q&As of 2019
For every policymaker, elected official or other New York political leader who graces the cover of City & State, there are lots of other newsmakers who we speak to for shorter interviews published in print and online. These Q&As can range from informational to heated, but the goal is to provide our readers with additional facts and illuminating perspectives. From lawmakers interviewed in the halls of power to presidential candidates calling in from the campaign trail, these are a few of City & State’s best Q&As of 2019.
Back to school with Steve Israel (Jan. 31)
Former Rep. Steve Israel weighed in on the divided political landscape and discussed the launch of a new academic institute – the Cornell Institute of Politics and Global Affairs – that’s intended to elevate the political discourse. In an interview with City & State Editor-in-Chief Jon Lentz, Israel said New York is at the nexus of national politics, with President Donald Trump, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez all at the center of the “swirling political winds.” Israel’s observation has arguably grown more resonant as New Yorkers like Reps. Jerrold Nadler and Carolyn Maloney rose in prominence later in the year during the Trump impeachment hearings.
Andrew Yang rages against the machines (March 20)
Tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang launched his long-shot bid for the Democratic presidential nomination back in November 2017. But it wasn’t until 2019 that his campaign caught on like wildfire, attracting support from a whole host of mostly young voters. City & State reached Yang on the campaign trail in March to talk not only about his famous universal basic income proposal, but also about the spectre of automation and how government is falling behind in adapting to the new norms created by technology. “There used to be an agency that was meant to inform congressional leaders of technology issues and they got rid of that agency decades ago,” Yang said at the time. “We know that our leaders are way behind the curve and it’s going from dangerous to disastrous.”
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul is not only Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s second-in-command, but a champion of upstate economic development. And that was never more clear in April when City & State Senior Editor Ben Adler interviewed Hochul for a Q&A to accompany his cover story on Buffalo’s “billion-dollar Band-Aid.” In the Q&A, Hochul defended upstate revitalization initiatives against critiques over the Buffalo Billion bid-rigging scandal and the loss of high-paying manufacturing jobs in Buffalo. Plus, Hochul addressed some of the key conflicts in the debate over losing a planned Amazon headquarters in Long Island City, Queens.
It’s not often that a political candidate will openly criticize the office that he or she aspires to, but New York City Councilman Joseph Borelli is far from a typical New York City politician. The Trump-loving Republican from Staten Island – who later lost to Democrat Jumaane Williams in the November election for New York City public advocate – spoke to City & State in the midst of that campaign and why, despite manythink pieces suggesting the contrary, he believes there is civility in politics.
Jerrold Nadler, the Investigator (May 19)
Few members of Congress have been as prominent this year as Rep. Jerrold Nadler, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee and has been central in House Democrats’ (now-successful) efforts to impeach President Donald Trump. In an interview with City & State, Nadler discussed impeachment at length, detailing the legal case behind his investigation.
Simcha Felder’s lonely days are over (July 10)
City & State caught up with state Sen. Simcha Felder, the centrist Democrat who once allied with Republicans but was welcomed back to the Democratic caucus this summer. Felder, in a rare moment (for politicians) of honesty, spoke about what it was like to be frozen out when Democrats took control of the state Senate in January. Felder also acknowledged that he sometimes has different reasons for supporting legislation – and they don’t always have to do with what will directly benefit his constituents.
In July, when the U.S. Department of Justice announced it wouldn’t bring criminal charges against NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner, it brought to the fore the long-simmering saga over Garner’s death – an event that helped propel the Black Lives Matter movement. Journalist Matt Taibbi, who wrote about the subject at length in his book, “I Can’t Breathe: A Killing on Bay Street,” provided some much-needed context on the breaking news and why Garner’s death struck a national nerve.
While City & State is known for checking in with elected officials, high-powered candidates and other top political leaders, we are also known to interview an eye-catching underdog or two. Our Q&A with Paperboy Prince, a rapper and entertainer who is challenging Rep. Nydia Velázquez, is the perfect example of that. In an engaging interview with City & State reporter Jeff Coltin, they discussed Paperboy Prince’s motivation to run as well as policy questions like rezoning efforts in Bushwick, Brooklyn.