City & State Magazine published its annual listing of the top 100 individuals they consider to be the most influential in Albany. There are only five (5) Latinos and Robert Mujica, from Queens, is the first among Latinos.
1-Robert Mujica, NYS Budget Director (#10)
2-Betty Rosa, Chancellor of the Board of Regents (#36)
3-Ruben Diaz, Jr., the Bronx Borough President (#37)
4-Hector Figueroa, President of the union, SEIU 32BJ (#48)
5-Marcos Crespo, Assemblyman and Chairman of the Bronx Democratic Committee (#72)
New York State Budget Director
On last year’s list we pointed to reports that Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration was trying to poach the veteran Senate Republican staffer as reason to bump him up a few spots. Well, the rumors came true. Cuomo tapped him to be his new budget director late last year, and in this year’s negotiations Mujica found himself on the other side of the table.
By all accounts he seemed to take to the new role well. With much of the logjam surrounding the budget negotiations centered around conflicts between Cuomo and the Republican-controlled state Senate, Mujica’s nearly 20-year history with the GOP conference was invaluable in reaching an agreement where all sides could walk away happy.
The respect he commands across the aisle and his vast experience negotiating legislation is sure to make him an integral player in the upcoming end-of-session rush, where the passage of dozens of bills often hinges on the ability of internal staff to think fast and nimbly navigate closed-door negotiations.