Like Wray, Feldman is a Democrat. She has served as an adviser to a number of Democratic candidates and politicians, including U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. She graduated from Yale University in 1978 and earned a law degree from the University of Miami in 1983.
Feldman is the live-in partner of Thomas Williams, the president of the Adirondack Landowners Association.
The Adirondack Council supports the nomination, according to spokesman John Sheehan. “She seems to have a strong interest in the Adirondacks and in the environment,” he said. “We think she’d be very good.”
But Peter Bauer, executive director of Protect the Adirondacks, questioned whether Feldman’s background in corporate law and politics qualifies her for a position on the APA. He fears that, rather than thinking independently, she will carry out the agenda of the Governor and State Senator Betty Little, who represents most of the Park.
“We have lots of questions about her knowledge of APA law, her knowledge of Park policy,” he said. “We don’t see a very long resume when it comes to environmental or Adirondack Park law.”
Brian Towers, president of the Adirondack Association of Towns and Villages, said he has met Feldman on a few occasions. “She’s a very bright, energetic individual,” he said. “I think she could do a great job.”
Towers said he hopes Wray’s replacement will balance environmental and economic concerns in making decisions. “I’m always in favor of people who bring balance to the table, and I think Karen would do that,” he said.
Dan MacEntee, Betty Little’s spokesman, said the senator also supports the nomination. Feldman, he said, “has a good grasp of environmental issues but is also mindful of the economic concerns that need to be addressed.”
The Senate has yet to vote on the nomination. It first must pass the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee. Joe Erdman, the committee’s director, said the panel received the nomination today and probably will vote on it within two weeks. The Senate Finance Committee also must vote on the nomination, he said.
Wray, a New York City lawyer, has served on the APA since 1999. His term expired a few years ago, but in the absence of a replacement, he has continued to sit on the board. It is expected that this month’s meeting will be his last as a commissioner.
Sheehan praised Wray’s service on the APA. “He showed himself to be an independent thinker and strong protector of the environment,” he said. Before his appointment to the APA, Wray sat on the council’s board.
Photo of APA headquarters from Wikipedia.