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Regina M. Calcaterra (born 1966) is the author of Etched in Sand, A True Story of Five Siblings who Survived an Unspeakable Childhood on Long Island, HarperCollins, August 2013. She is an attorney working for the State of New York and formerly served as the Executive Director to NYS Governor Cuomo's Moreland Commission on Utility Storm Preparedness and Response. Her appointment followed her service as Chief Deputy County Executive to Suffolk County Executive Steven Bellone. She is an author, advocate for foster children, supporter of government reform and formerly served as a frequent commentator of policy and politics appearing on/in the Fox News Channel, CNBC, Newsday and other media outlets.
Regina 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. So finally, at the age of 14, she legally emancipated herself from her mother then aged out of foster care, parentless, at the age of 21 while putting herself through college. Regina has written a memoir about how she and her savvy group of homeless siblings managed to survive while fighting to stay together, Etched in Sand, that is scheduled for release in August 2013, Harper Collins.
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.
In July 2013, Regina was appointed to serve as Executive Director of the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption which was formed via Executive Order by NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo to probe systematic public corruption and the appearance of such corruption in state government, political campaigns and elections. Regina is managing the day to day operations which includes overseeing the investigations and development of statutory recommendations while working closely with the Commission's Commissioners and Special Advisors.
In November 2012, New York State Governor Cuomo appointed Regina as Executive Director to the Moreland Commission on Utility Storm Preparation and Response which was established to investigate the response, preparation, and management of New York’s power utility companies with respect to several major storms impacting the State including Hurricanes Sandy and Irene, and Tropical Storm Lee and to review and make appropriate recommendations regarding the states energy agencies. Executive Orders 73 and 76 which created the Commission can be found at http://www.governor.ny.gov/press/11132012Section6.
As Executive Director, Regina managed a staff of energy policy experts and litigators as she worked under the guidance of the Moreland Commission’s Commissioners. On January 7, 2013 the Commission disclosed its Interim Report to Governor Andrew Cuomo. The report identified options for consideration regarding the restructuring of the Long Island Power Authority and recommended its privatization. After a review of the state energy regulatory environment the Commission, via the Interim Report, also put forth recommendations on strengthening the regulatory oversight of the NYS Public Service Commission which was immediately enacted in law.
In June 2013, the Commission issued its final report that disclosed LIPA’s financial irregularities and lack of oversight and accountability. It also provided policy recommendations on investment infrastructure, energy efficiency programs and consumer representation before the state’s utility regulatory body. Additionally, it shared its investigatory findings of all the utilities responses to the most recent devastating storms. Both reports can be found http://moreland.ny.gov.
Regina's state appointment followed her service as the Chief Deputy Suffolk County Executive where she managed the response and immediate storm recovery to Superstorm Sandy and assisted the County Executive in addressing the day to day operations of a 9,000 member workforce with a $2.7 billion budget.
Her early career included work as an advocate for the Eastern Paralyzed Veterans Association now referred to as the United Spinal Association. There, Calcaterra worked for passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act as well as a range of civil rights and accessibility issues on behalf of disabled veterans.
She went on to work at as legislative director for the New York City Comptroller's Office, where she co-authored and successfully advocated for passage of several pieces of legislation - including laws to protect the rights of workers - which saved taxpayers several million dollars, generated revenues and streamlined city government operations.
Calcaterra was the founding partner of the New York office of Barrack, Rodos & Bacine an internationally recognized corporate fraud litigation firm, representing public employee pension funds in cases where those funds have been defrauded. Among cases on which she worked, Calcaterra was part of the team that represented the New York State Common Retirement Fund in the lawsuits against WorldCom - litigation which led to a historic $6.13 Billion recovery - and McKesson/HBOC which led to recovery of more than $1 billion to injured investors. More recently, she was on the litigation team that recovered over $500 million from Merrill Lynch resulting from their role in the mortgage crisis. She also solely developed the firm's European practice.
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. Her campaign ended when a lawsuit filed by supporters of her opponent succeeded to remove her from the ballot.
Calcaterra is the author of the memoir Etched in Sand, which has been on The New York Times Best Seller list and tells the harrowing story of how she and her savvy siblings survived an abusive and painful childhood only to find themselves faced with the challenges of the foster-care system and intermittent homelessness in the shadows of Manhattan and the Hamptons. Etched in Sand was released in August 2013 by HarperCollins Publishers, under Lisa Sharkey's Creative Development team.