Business Council President and CEO discusses what’s ahead following candidate speeches

In an interview with Capital Tonight host Liz Benjamin, Heather C. Briccetti, Esq, president and CEO of The Business Council recapped last week’s Annual Meeting and answered questions about possible endorsements.

The entire interview is available here.  A Time Warner Cable subscriber login is required for viewing.  This is a summary of that interview from The State of Politics blog.
After hearing from both gubernatorial candidates at its annual meeting in Bolton Landing, the Business Council’s political arm will meet this week to try to pick a favorite.

Don’t be too surprised if the final word is “no endorsement.” After all, the Council’s 2010 decision to back then-state AG Andrew Cuomo was the first time in its 30-year history that it had chosen sides in the governor’s race. ”

During a CapTon interview last Friday, Business Council President and CEO Heather Briccetti said a neutral stance by her organization is “always a possibility.”

“It was an aberration last time,” Briccetti said of the 2010 endorsement.

“We had such a horrific experience the four years before that, and primarily the two years before that. Our members were very motivated to say: ‘Hey, we are headed in the wrong direction; let’s make sure we have somebody with a plan and the ability to accomplish some things.'”

On balance, Briccetti said the business community has fared well under Cuomo, though there is mounting concern over his public commitment to flip the Senate into Democratic hands. (The jury is still out as to whether he’s going to actually make good on that pledge, however).

Briccetti also insisted that Cuomo and his GOP challenger, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, aren’t that “radically different” when it comes to fiscal concerns. She expressed concern over Astorino’s opposition to the Common Core, which the Council has strongly backed.

Briccetti said she found the challenging tone Astorino took during his Council address at Bolton Landing last Thursday night “interesting.” She defended her members against his claim that they have been complicit in the failure to further improve the state’s business climate.

“Our members feel like they’re businesspeople; we’re not political partisans, that’s not our role,” Briccetti said. “Our role is to try to effect change and improve the business climate. That’s not going to happen overnight.”

“…Access is very, very important to my members, and understanding that we’re not going to yell and scream and wave signs at the Capitol about things that we’re upset about,” she continued.

“…It’s just a different style and a different approach. As long as we have the ability to participate in the process, that is something that’s very important.”

The Council’s political strategies committee will be meeting this week not only on the governor’s race, but on a full slate of legislative endorsements. “It’s going to be a rather lengthy conversation,” Briccetti said.

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