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New Yorkers will be storming the halls of power in 2021 in both Congress and the Biden administration.
At Biden’s right hand will be Secretary of State Antony Blinken. The 58-year-old came of age on Manhattan’s Upper East Side as the scion of an old New York City family. His father Donald M. Blinken was one of the original founders of private equity giant Warburg Pincus and — at age 95 — still lives in a grand apartment at the Manhattan co-op River House. Tony Blinken attended the ritzy Dalton School before later graduating from Columbia Law School in 1988.
In the Biden cabinet, Blinken will be joined by fellow Manhattanite Avril Haines, who will become the first woman to serve as Director of National Intelligence. Haines graduated from Hunter College and her father Thomas H. Haines spent years as a chemistry professor at City College of New York.
Incoming Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen originally hails from Bay Ridge, and graduated from Fort Hamilton High School in 1962. She was class valedictorian.
One of the Trump Administration’s most notable New Yorkers — COVID czar Dr. Anthony Fauci of Brooklyn — has been tapped by President-elect Biden to serve as his chief medical advisor.
“New Yorkers have always always been well represented in high places,” Ken Sherrill, a Hunter College political scientist, told The Post. “The question is whether these New Yorkers are going to be pushing for the kind of urban agenda the city and state need right now during a time of financial crisis.”
On that score things look optimistic. Sen. Chuck Schumer will become the first New Yorker to serve as Senate Majority Leader, and will be in a position to steer billions of federal dollars to the state.
That may be very good news for the MTA and state budget, both of which are facing devastating cuts from coronavirus-related revenue shortfalls.
A source close to Schumer told The Post that the senator is “laser focused on delivering billions more for the MTA” and “a far more comprehensive Covid relief bill that includes funding for state and local governments.” This will come on top of the more than $13 billion in direct aid to New York’s state and local governments Schumer already wrangled into Congress’ most recent relief effort last month.
Other giant budget items like the Hudson River train tunnels will also be on the agenda.
“Billions of dollars is just sitting and waiting for President Biden to set free,” the source said.
Though he’s not in D.C., Gov. Cuomo has long been chummy with Biden, a graduate of Syracuse University Law School. Cuomo bet early on Biden’s candidacy back in 2019.
Another NYC power broker will be Brooklyn Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, who was easily reelected to his post as chairman of the House Democratic Caucus — the No. 5 officer in the Nancy Pelosi-controlled chamber.
The 50-year-old Democrat is the only New Yorker in House leadership and is frequently mentioned as a possible future Speaker — not insignificant speculation as most of his immediate bosses are in their 80s.
“Don’t count your chickens until they’re hatched, but right now, we need an awful lot of chickens to hatch and we’ve got some good people in Washington to be doing it,” Sherrill said.
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