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WASHINGTON — Facebook found a friend in Rep. Chris Collins. Near the end of an hours-long House hearing Wednesday in which other lawmakers took turns bashing Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg for allowing privacy invasions, Collins spent four minutes "liking" the tech billionaire and much of what he did in two days of congressional testimony. "You know, as I'm listeni…

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Niagara County Legislator Richard L. Andres Jr. of North Tonawanda was elected chairman of the county Republican Committee at an executive committee meeting Tuesday night in Wheatfield. He succeeds Adam VanDeMark of Lockport, who became first vice chairman. James D. Heuer of Wheatfield, moved from first to second vice chairman. Andres said he was asked to run last we…

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WASHINGTON — Being Mark Zuckerberg means always having to say you're sorry. The Facebook founder did more of that Tuesday as he testified before two Senate committees. And he'll likely do even more of it before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday, where Rep. Chris Collins, a Clarence Republican, will be among the lawmakers asking questions. "I'm sure…

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New York Republicans have looked across the aisle in search of a candidate to challenge Democratic incumbent Thomas P. DiNapoli for state comptroller this year. Jonathan Trichter, a Democratic campaign operative who has worked for top Democratic candidates like former Gov. Eliot L. Spitzer and New York City mayoral candidate Mark J. Green, announced he will seek the GOP…

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WASHINGTON – New York's two U.S. senators are demanding answers from New York State Electric and Gas about its delayed response to last week's windstorm. Noting that NYSEG's customers across the state faced long delays in getting their power restored after the April 4 storm, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand Monday wrote to Carl A.…

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WASHINGTON – The world is full of snakes, and President Trump just got bit by the same one that bit his predecessor. Syrian strongman Bashar Assad, seemingly emboldened by Trump's desire to withdraw troops from Syria, appears to have authorized a chemical attack Saturday in the Syrian city of Douma, killing 40. If that sounds familiar, perhaps it's because Assad, unafra…

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ALBANY – Five days after a deal was struck to unite Senate Democrats after years of internecine warfare, would-be donors were being reminded Monday of a fundraiser this week to fund the campaign operations of the defunct Independent Democratic Conference. The fundraising appeal helped to spread speculation, especially on social media sites, that the unification arrangem…

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WASHINGTON – Democrats now have their candidate to take on Rep. Chris Collins in New York's 27th district this fall: Grand Island Town Supervisor Nate McMurray. The other remaining Democrat in the race, businessman Nick Stankevich, announced Monday he is suspending his campaign. "It was just many factors that led me to this decision," Stankevich said after releasing …

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WASHINGTON – Rep. Chris Collins had $1.22 million in his campaign war chest after winning re-election by 34 points in November 2016. Then on Nov. 29 of that year, Collins, a Clarence Republican, put $500,000 of that money back in his own pocket. Collins lent his campaign $500,000 before he first won election to Congress in 2012, and four years later, he finally paid him…

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ALBANY – In a bow to reactive governing, topics that were major local and national news items in communities around the state over the past year were ripped from the headlines and inserted in some way or another into the new $168.3 billion spending plan. Anti-gang violence on Long Island: done. New sexual harassment laws: done. Money for low-income housing in New …

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ALBANY – When officials in late fall started to put all the pieces of a new state budget together for Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to present in January, the gloomy talk started coming out of the Capitol’s first floor where his budget staff is based. The state, officials warned, faced a looming $4.4 billion deficit. Put in perspective, that’s almost what is spent each year on N…

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For all the political advantages New York Democrats have enjoyed in recent years, they never succeeded for any length of time in ruling the upper house of the State Legislature. Even in overwhelmingly Democratic New York, the last bastion of Republican power in Albany remains the Senate. But the GOP’s long control may be facing extinction. While political stars, moon…

The Chautauqua County Board of Elections released its official 2018 voter registration enrollment totals on Friday, revealing that, for the first time since 2008, there are more registered Republicans in the county than Democrats. Of the 76,447 voters enrolled in Chautauqua County, 34 percent or 25,755 of them are registered Republicans. Registered Democrats make up 33 …

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ALBANY – The former head of a breakaway group of Senate Democrats said Thursday he is at peace with a deal to unify warring Senate Democrats – even if it sharply reduces his power in Albany. “I’m confident we’ll be able to get a lot more done in a Democratic majority," Sen. Jeff Klein, a Bronx Democrat who agreed Wednesday to end the life of the Independent Democratic C…

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ALBANY – Long-feuding state Senate Democrats have brokered a framework deal to reunite, which Democrats claim will bolster the party’s prospects for taking control from Republicans of the 63-member chamber. And this time, they say it’s real. Following a Democratic “unity meeting" Tuesday in Manhattan, attended by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, Democratic Senate leaders and to…