Regina Calcaterra

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Regina M Calcaterra
Born November 9, 1966
New York
Alma mater Seton Hall, SUNY New Paltz
Occupation Securities attorney, state government executive

Regina M. Calcaterra (born 1966) is an American attorney and author. She is an attorney working for the State of New York and formerly served as the executive director to two recent New York State Moreland Commissions, including the Utility Storm Preparedness and Response Commission and the Commission to Investigate Public Corruption. On June 30, 2014, it was reported by NY Daily News that Calcaterra remained an employee of the latter commission, which discontinued operations in March 2014.[1] In August, the Times Union reported that she was to receive an appointment as deputy general counsel to the New York State Insurance Fund (SIF).[2] Her appointment followed her service as Chief Deputy County Executive to Suffolk County Executive Steven Bellone. She is also an advocate for foster children, supporter of government reform and formerly served as a frequent commentator of policy and politics appearing on CNBC, Newsday and other local media outlets.

Early life and education[edit]

Calcaterra was born and raised in Suffolk County, N.Y. with her four siblings, she grew up largely in and out of homelessness and foster care when abandoned by their single mother. Throughout her youth there were several weeks and months at a time where she was the sole caregiver of her younger siblings.[3] At the age of 14, she legally emancipated herself from her mother; she then aged out of foster care, at the age of 21 while putting herself through college,[4] and later discussed these events in her memoir, Etched in Sand (2013).

She serves as a board member of You Gotta Believe, an organization that addresses the homeless children population by working to get foster children adopted, specifically older foster children. Regina is often asked to speak to international, national and local organizations on the need to change policy towards preparing older foster children for potential adoption.

Calcaterra was the plaintiff in the case In Re Parentage Regina M. Calcaterra, the first case of its kind in the United States that allowed an adult child to determine their true parentage via DNA.

Calcaterra is a 1996 graduated from Seton Hall University School of Law and in 1988 she received her bachelor's in political science from SUNY New Paltz.[5]

Public policy and governmental experience[edit]

Calcaterra served as Chief Deputy to the Suffolk County Executive where she managed a county of over 1.6 million residents, a $2.7 billion annual budget and a 9500 employee workforce. During her tenure she managed the county’s fiscal crisis and oversaw the county’s day-to-day operations and its immediate response and recovery to Superstorm Sandy.

In November 2012, Governor Andrew Cuomo appointed Calcaterra executive director of the newly convened Moreland Commission on Utility Storm Preparation and Response. The commission, authorized by the Moreland Act of the early 20th century, was constituted to investigate emergency management and preparedness following the controversial performance of all six publicly traded power companies and the one quasi-governmental power company during several recent severe weather events, including Hurricane Irene and Hurricane Sandy.[6] The commission released two published reports, the first I Interim Report in January 2013 and the Final Report in June 2013. Both reports includes the results of its findings, as well as its policy recommendations, in June 2013.[7]

In July 2013, Calcaterra was again appointed by Governor Cuomo to serve as executive director of a commission, this time the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption. The CIPC was created to look into allegations of corruption among elected officials, and was a response to a steady stream of arrests and convictions of state officials and members of the New York State legislature. The commission was disbanded by the governor in March, 2014 after the state legislature passed a package of ethics reforms included in the annual budget. Reports of complaints and allegations of interference and a lack of independence were raised against the commission and the governors office, including accusations reported by the New York Times that Calcaterra intervened to protect the governor and individuals and organizations associated with him from scrutiny or investigation. Among those raising concerns about the commission were former commissioners, the former chief investigator for the commission, and the United States Attorney for Manhattan, Preet Bharara.[8] As part of its investigation into the commission and its work, the US Attorney's office subpoenaed Calcaterra's assistant, Heather Green.[9] The NY Daily News reported that Calcaterra continued to receive her salary as executive director of the disbanded commission through June 2014, and in August the Times Union reported that Governor Cuomo had appointed her deputy general counsel to the New York State Insurance Fund.[1][2]


Calcaterra is the author of the New York Times Best Selling memoir Etched in Sand which tells how she and her siblings survived an abusive childhood, the foster-care system, and intermittent homelessness.. It has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning - the Science of Survival segment, Inside Edition, the New York Post, New York Law Journal, People Magazine, Newsday > other media outlets. Etched in Sand has been incorporated into the curriculum of colleges and high schools and has been chosen as One College/One Read at several US colleges.

Etched in Sand was released in August 2013 by HarperCollins Publishers, under Lisa Sharkey's Creative Development team.

State Senate campaign[edit]

In early 2010, Calcaterra, a Democrat, announced her candidacy for New York State Senate for the First Senatorial District. Her opponent was state Sen. Kenneth LaValle, a 34-year incumbent. She campaigned actively on several issues, including ethics reform in New York State government, fair share of state services for Long Island, and changes to the state's school aid formula that would also bring property tax relief to Suffolk County. As reported by the local newspaper The Suffolk Times, two courts ruled that Calcaterra was ineligible to appear on the ballot due to residency requirements; Calcaterra, who had registered to vote in Pennsylvania and filed non-resident tax returns in New York, had not lived in the state for the five consecutive years required by election law.[10][11][12]