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January 12, 2011

Little named to key Senate committee

PLATTSBURGH — State Sen. Betty Little will serve as the new chairwoman of the Senate Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation Committee.

The post will be in addition to her service on the powerful Senate Finance Committee and the Local Government Committee, which she has chaired for several years.

"Tourism is a critically important economic driver in the North Country, so I'm pleased to have this opportunity to advocate for our region," Little (R-Queensbury) said in a statement.

"I've served on this committee since being elected to the Senate and am confident I can hit the ground running.

"Working with all of the committee members, we will do some creative things to promote tourism, the arts, sports recreation and the beautiful parks that add so much to our quality of life throughout the state."

Republicans regained control of the Senate in last year's election after Democrats held power for two years.

Plattsburgh-North Country Chamber of Commerce President Garry Douglas said Little's work will be especially important as the state tries to solve a $10 billion budget deficit.

"The work of this committee is a crucial part of the North Country economy, especially in the Adirondacks," Douglas said.

"The next few years are going to require a lot of cutbacks and changes in order to save our state from permanent decline.

"But the new majority in the State Senate will help guarantee that those reductions are fairly distributed and are not unduly tilted against upstate and the North Country, as happened over the last two years."

Douglas said Little's leadership on the committee will not only benefit the region in tourism and parks, her place on the Finance Committee will help guarantee appropriate appointments to the Adirondack Park Agency and other agencies.

City of Plattsburgh Mayor Donald Kasprzak, who worked for the state's Parks and Recreation Department in the Saratoga area for seven years, said he looks forward to working with Little on issues that can benefit the North Country.

"The appointment of Sen. Little as the chair of the Tourism Committee is excellent for the North Country," Kasprzak said.

"She is very well aware of our needs and will support the interests of our region."

Little will also serve on the Civil Service, Pensions, Consumer Protection, Crime Victims, Crime and Corrections and Environmental Conservation committees.

E-mail Joe LoTemplio at: jlotemplio@pressrepublican.com

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