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Little re-elected as state Senate turns blue

November 7, 2018
By AARON CERBONE - For the News ( , Lake Placid News

GLENS FALLS - State Sen. Betty Little won re-election Tuesday against Democratic challenger Emily Martz as New York's Senate flipped from Republican to Democratic control.

Little, R-Queensbury, said this change in the majority party means she may need to work to keep some policies the North Country needs in place.

"You have to work across the aisles," Little said. "You have to work with whoever got elected to get good results."

Article Photos

State Sen. Betty Little, R-Queensbury, speaks to her supporters following her victory in her Senate seat race at the Queensbury Hotel in Glens Falls on Tuesday night.
(Photo — Jenn March, for the Post-Star)

She has been the head of the Senate Housing Committee and after the party flip will become a ranking member of that committee as a Democrat takes the chair. There are no specific housing policies Little said she is worried about losing.

Little said she really wants to focus on broadband internet expansion this term.

"We need it, or we'll never be able to attract young people, millennials," Little said. (Editor's note: This quotation has been corrected.)

Little said though it is unlikely for big businesses to come to the North Country and supply lots of jobs at one company, she has passed several policies recently to make it easier for the manufacturing companies already here. Several years ago she helped pass a zero-percent manufacturing tax bill, and last year helped change worker compensation costs for businesses. Little said New York has higher rates than usual and the new law will lower them 11 percent.

This was the first race since 2006 that Little had a Democratic contender. She campaigns every year but this year went full scale on radio, television and mailing advertising. She said she enjoyed campaigning full scale again, and that talking with voters and receiving notes of support were "heartwarming."

She was at the Queensbury Hotel for the election but the past two days had stopped in all six counties in the 45th District.

Martz, of Saranac Lake, sat at the bar of the Lawrence Street Tavern eating chicken wings and drinking a beer Tuesday night. Her campaign was over, and she just had to wait for the results to roll in.

Two hours later, it had become that Little had won the election, and Martz stood at the same bar again, still talking with supporters about politics.

The Democratic candidate had parlayed a campaign for New York's 21st Congressional District seat, which ended in the June Democratic primary, into her state Senate race.

"For me, it's always been, 'Put one foot in front of the other,'" Martz said. "There's really not been any time to reflect."

Little said she had hoped the state Senate would flip Democratic and that the North Country would need a Democratic representative if it did.

"It's wrong, but only the majority has a voice at the table right now in Albany," Martz said.

Martz said she saw an energized Democratic base this election season that she tried to pull in to the polls.

"What was it, two to three thousand people that knew about me back in June? And now 30,000-plus people," Martz said. "That was due to all the volunteers."

"Tomorrow, I help with chores around the house," Martz said. "I might get a little exercise and go see parents that I haven't seen, spend a little more time with my boyfriend off the campaign trail."

Martz said through campaigning she learned the North Country is moving from a big industry area to a small industry area, adding that its representatives need to know that. When asked if she had any advice for Little, she said, "Take a chance; step outside of the box. It's a new economy; it's a new age."



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