Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, is ranked at number 4 in the City & State Power 100 list for New York. Bharara, who was placed at number seven in the 2013 rankings, has moved up three spots. Other South Asians on the list include is Neal Kwatra, CEO, Metropolitan Public Strategies and Penny Abeywardena, commissioner, Mayor’s Office for International Affairs.
When it comes to getting maximum impact out of the power his office holds, Bharara is proving he is unmatched, the publication said. The corruption allegations against the then-Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver turned Albany upside down and sent shivers down the legs of public officials everywhere – especially if they are up to no good, it said. By making an example of Silver, Bharara has indicated he will go after anyone in city or state government. The ripple effect could scare straight legislative bodies from Manhattan to Albany.
Kwatra has long been regarded as one of the best strategists in state Democratic politics. His consulting and communications firm continues its rise after helping Rep. Charles Rangel hold onto his seat last year. The former chief of staff to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and ex-political director at the Hotel Trades Council is a go-to guy for unions that want to reach politicians and vice versa – both on the city and state levels, City & State said. Ranked at number 90 in the previous list, Kwatra has moved up to the 66th spot.
New on the list this year on the 93rd position is Abeywardena, who took on her new role in mid-2014 and has been arguably one of de Blasio’s best hires, the publication said. In the past, the office had little importance, but Abeywardena changed that. Coming from the Clinton Global Initiative, she has crafted a global image for the mayor, was instrumental in his travel to Paris following the terror attacks against Charlie Hebdo, and will be the point person for Pope Francis’ visit this summer.