The Capitol Pressroom for February 28, 2012 | WCNY Blogs

The Capitol Pressroom for February 28, 2012 | WCNY Blogs.

 Former Special Counsel to Governor David Paterson, Peter Kiernan shares a look back at some of the political calculations made at the very beginning of the hydrofracking debate in New York State.


State of New York | Executive Chamber
Andrew M. Cuomo | Governor
For Immediate Release: September 22, 2011


New Website Opens Up State Government to the People; Governor, LG, and Top Commissioners to Chat Online with NY’ers

Governor Will Hold First Chat This Saturday

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today launched CitizenConnects, an online town hall to encourage New Yorkers to participate in state government and share their ideas to help shape New York’s future. The new online town hall website will feature multiple interactive platforms for New Yorkers to communicate and participate with their state government. The website will give New Yorkers unprecedented access to the workings of the executive branch as well as provide new and easy ways to participate in the ongoing activities of the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, the cabinet, and top officials in the executive chamber. The website will feature a new online town hall where the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor and top commissioners and executive officials will participate in weekly online chats where they will take questions directly from New Yorkers. The Governor will hold the first chat this Saturday. To visit CitizensConnects go to

The website will also be a portal for New Yorkers to participate in upcoming state events and activities, use social media to talk and comment on the workings of state government, and track future and past travel for the Governor and the executive branch.

“Democracy works when the voice of the people rings strong and citizens participate in government,” Governor Cuomo said. “This will be a ‘Town Hall’ in every sense. It will be an open forum for New Yorkers to interact and participate in their government; it will be a place New Yorkers can visit to communicate with their leaders and sign up for community activities; and it will allow New Yorkers to have a direct window into the workings of their government. This world is changing. New technology allows us new opportunities to communicate with the people of the state. Traditional forms of communication and information have given way to electronics. It’s time government gets up to date.”

Since taking office, Governor Cuomo has worked to open state government and make it more accessible to all New Yorkers. CitizenConnects builds on those efforts and empowers citizens with the information they need to actively participate in their state government. On his first day in office, Governor Cuomo opened up the second floor — where the Governor and his top staff have their offices — to the public after it was closed off for more than a decade. The Governor then for the first time invited the public to attend the State of the State address and traveled to communities across the state to lay out his agenda for the people. During the budget and legislative process, the Governor held dozens of public forums and presentations in every region of the state, encouraging the public to support his agenda for reform and to make government work for the people once again. As Attorney General, Governor Cuomo launched “Project Sunlight,” the state’s first-ever online database of information related to campaign finance, lobbying activity, state spending, and state contracts.

CitizenConnects is another step in the Governor’s transformational efforts to bring government to New Yorkers. CitizenConnects will be an online Town Hall and a forum for New Yorkers to communicate with his administration and their government. The website will provide unprecedented direct access to the activities of the Governor and state agencies.

On the website, New Yorkers will be able to:

  • · Participate in online town halls where New Yorkers can submit questions directly to government officials
    · Learn about and sign up to participate in upcoming state government events
    · Follow the travel of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and top officials and commissioners
    · Submit ideas and policy questions to the Governor
    · Follow the executive branch with enhanced access on Facebook and Twitter
    · Sign up to receive e-mail, Facebook, and Twitter updates
    · Access the Governor’s daily and future schedules

The first online chat will be hosted by Governor Cuomo; the second will be hosted by Superintendent Ben Lawsky who will answer questions about storm damage insurance claims and the third will be hosted by Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens who will answer questions about hydrofracking.

The site also features a calendar showing Governor Cuomo’s daily public schedule, including a map showing upcoming events, as well as places the Governor and Lieutenant Governor have visited since taking office. This feature will help New Yorkers stay informed about the Governor and Lieutenant Governor’s upcoming visits to their home towns.

Robert Freeman, Executive Director of the Committee on Open Government said, “I congratulate Governor Cuomo for taking government transparency to a new level. By providing information of importance to the public, even before anyone asks for it, the website will give New Yorkers the opportunity to know how their government serves them and offer their points of view. This is a groundbreaking effort in bringing government closer to the people.”

Russ Haven, Executive Director of the New York State Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), said, “The ‘town hall’ web page offers a user friendly way for two-way communication between New Yorkers and the governor and his staff. Particularly at a time filled with so many challenges, the public wants to keep tabs on what public officials are up to. Through this portal the governor can boost transparency of his activities and contribute to the public’s trust in government.”

Dick Dadey, Executive Director of Citizens Union, said, “This new public access resource tool promises to bring a new level of transparency and knowledge about how the Governor is working for the people of New York.”

Lawrence Norden, Deputy Director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, said, “The internet can make it easier than ever before to increase transparency and accountability in government. We’re happy to see Governor Cuomo taking this new step to further open the governor’s office to the public.”


Additional news available at
New York State | Executive Chamber | | 518.474.8418