Re-elect Sen. Little

State Sen. Betty Little talks with the Enterprise editorial board at its Saranac Lake offices on Friday. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Cerbone)

We support state Sen. Betty Little for re-election in New York’s largest Senate district, the 45th, which covers the northeastern portion of the state: Essex, Franklin, Clinton, Warren and parts of St. Lawrence and Washington counties.

Little is always reasonable and a great listener. She is politically moderate and tends to focus on people and policy rather than politics. She has always worked well with Democrats as well as her fellow Republicans. She is deeply knowledgeable about how state actions work and don’t work on the ground.

She is also steeped in experience, starting in public service in the 1980s in her hometown of Queensbury and then winning election to the state Assembly in the ’90s and the Senate in 2002.

Best of all, she and her staff are incredibly helpful. It seems like everyone in the North Country has received help from her office, perhaps in navigating state bureaucracy or getting a business license or a needed grant. She reads local papers thoroughly and sometimes writes congratulatory letters to those who won honors.

We are very fortunate to have such a representative in government.

Perhaps the strongest criticism one might levy against Little is that she focuses so much on the small stuff and less on the big picture, perhaps because of her aversion to power politics. That’s not, perhaps, the worst thing in the world, but nevertheless it is good for her to face a challenger in this election. The last time a major-party candidate ran against her was 12 years ago; none has dared face her in the last five elections.

Emily Martz of Saranac Lake shifted to the Senate race this summer after the June primary ender her congressional run. We have known her for several years and like her very much, but nothing she has said has changed our support for Little.

In a recent interview with us, Martz struggled to distinguish herself from Little except on party-line issues such as health care and abortion. She would vote for the single-payer health plan now stuck in the Senate Health Committee, of which Little is a member. Little says universal health care should be passed at a national level but wouldn’t work state by state. Martz supports bills to expand abortion rights in New York. Little cannot bring herself to allow late-term abortions, although she supports birth control and sex education.

Martz also tried to distinguish yourself by supporting the Child Victims Act, which would extend the statute of limitations for child sex crimes and lift the statue to allow lawsuits for one year. Little was skeptical of earlier versions of the bill but since has looked at how other states’ versions work. Now she says she will vote for it. We are glad she did the research and agree the bill should be approved.

Martz kept telling us she has fresh ideas, but when asked what they are, she was able to point to only two relatively small ones: helping BOCES students get apprenticeships with local businesses, and helping tear down asbestos-contaminated buildings more quickly. She didn’t know exactly how either initiative would work.

It’s hard to challenge someone so well liked and capable. We commend Martz but endorse Little.

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