Press-Republican

June 8, 2013

Cuomo nominates new APA commissioner

By KIM SMITH DEDAM
Press-Republican

---- — RAY BROOK — Gov. Andrew Cuomo has suggested Karen Feldman for the Adirondack Park Agency Board of Commissioners.

The Hudson native would fill the seat held by out-of-park commissioner Cecil Wray, who was appointed in 1999. His last term expired in June 2010.

Wray lives in New York City, with a second home in Keene Valley, and served briefly as interim chairman of the APA under former Gov. Eliot Spitzer, in 2007.

There are several commissioners serving with expired terms. 

The woman considered for Wray’s seat is an attorney.

“It’s an honor to be nominated,” Feldman told the Press-Republican in a recent interview.

Pending final approval, she did not want to speculate on APA matters.

“And if I’m confirmed,” she did say, “it’s going to be an honor to serve.”

ADAPTIVE SPORTS

Feldman earned a law degree from the Miami School of Law in Miami in 1983. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University earned in 1978.

Her partner of 15 years, Tom Williams, is president of the Adirondack Landowners Association.

She said they own property in the Adirondacks, at Paradox Lake and also in Hamilton County.

Feldman is involved in numerous regional civic organizations.

“But closest to my heart,” she said, “I am a volunteer ski instructor with the Adaptive Sports Foundation in Windham, N.Y., in Greene County, and I’ve just been working at events in the Northeast Center for the Wounded Warrior project. 

“It is the greatest thing I do in my life. The last four days were spent with a women’s warrior event; there were six women participating, playing golf and kayaking and paddle-boarding — I’m a golfer.”

TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE

Feldman also serves on the Humane Society of New York Board of Directors. She has volunteered her time to the organization for 25 years.

She recently become involved with the Saratoga WarHorse project, an equine-assisted program “to create a natural release for the emotional turmoil that our veteran population is left to deal with,” the website says. 

Video about WarHorse, including commentary from Feldman, is found at saratogawarhorse.com.

She considers herself a consensus builder.

“I like to spend my life making a difference.”

HAS SENATOR’S SUPPORT

The confirmation process for an APA board appointee begins in the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee.

Feldman’s nomination was not on the agenda this week, according to the committee’s web page.

But it is likely they will consider it next week, according to Sen. Betty Little (R-Queensbury).

“Typically, the nominee’s biography is sent to the chair of the respective committee, in this case Environmental Conservation,” Little’s spokesman Dan Mac Entee said via email. 

“Once approved by EnCon, her nomination would be referred to Senate Finance and from there to the floor for consideration by the full body. 

“Senator Little supports her nomination.”

‘WOULD BE EXCELLENT’

Feldman also gained approval from the Adirondack Council, the largest environmental advocacy group in the park.

Council spokesman John Sheehan said Thursday that they had met her in the past. 

“We think she will make an excellent addition to the Park Agency. She will follow the science and the law,” he said.

Fred Monroe, executive director of the Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board, also said the nomination seems promising.

“She is very interested in Adirondack issues and I think will take a balanced approach, assuming the Senate confirms her.”

The current session of Legislature ends June 20.

Email Kim Smith Dedam: kdedam@pressrepublican.com