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Cuomo lauds Sen. Little for bipartisan work

Gov. Andrew Cuomo hugs state Sen. Betty Little, R-Queensbury, at a press conference at the Hotel Saranac Sunday. (Enterprise photo — Elizabeth Izzo)

SARANAC LAKE — Gov. Andrew Cuomo again honored outgoing state Sen. Betty Little for her years of public service Sunday.

Cuomo was in town to promote a snowmobiling weekend on March 14 and 15, designed to entice out-of-state visitors to try out the state’s snowmobile trail network. At a press conference at the Hotel Saranac, he held up his nearly decade-long working relationship with Little as an example of how politicians can reach across the aisle to make progress. Cuomo also honored Little during his annual State of the State address last month.

Little, R-Queensbury, is retiring Dec. 31 after serving in the state Senate since 2003. She previously served seven years in the state Assembly, and before that on the Warren County Board of Supervisors, as a member of the Queensbury town recreation commission, and as a teacher in both Long Island and Queensbury. She will turn 80 this September.

Cuomo said the North Country has had a “tremendous advocate” in Little.

“We are in a crazy world of politics right now. Everything is hyper-partisan and hyper-political,” he said. “There’s no discussion. It’s all yelling; it’s all pointing fingers and yelling.

“Sen. Little is a Republican, I am a Democrat. That doesn’t mean we don’t want the same thing. That doesn’t mean we don’t have the same values. It doesn’t mean that one of us is wrong, or one of us is bad. It means we want to have a discussion and a dialogue and achieve the things all of us want to achieve.”

Cuomo added, “Maybe I’m not right all the time,” prompting laughter from the crowd.

“Maybe. Maybe that’s a possibility, that I’m not 100% right,” he said. “Maybe it’s a possibility that Betty isn’t all right all of the time. And of course that’s the truth. Because that’s humanity. None of us are always right, and none of us are always wrong.”

Throughout the years, Cuomo said he and Little were able to sit down and have discussions about the North Country’s needs, despite belonging to different political parties.

“I don’t think we’ve had a difficult conversation in nine years,” he said. “Except with Betty, it was never enough — but that’s also her job.”

Cuomo talked about how Little, as a “tremendously respected” member of the Senate, helped him navigate the Republican-led Senate when he was elected governor.

“We would work on it together,” he said.

“She rose above all the negativity. She rose above all the easy politics. She did beautiful work, and that’s what public service is supposed to be.”

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