PLATTSBURGH — The Republicans’ loss of the State Senate majority could have an impact on the North Country.

But Sen. Betty Little vows to make it a positive one.

“I think it will be much more of a challenge, and we will just have to work harder,” Little (R-Queensbury) said Wednesday.

Republicans have held the majority in the Senate for the past four decades, while Democrats have controlled the Assembly by a wide margin.

The Senate’s majority, however, has been dwindling in recent years, and Tuesday’s election put Democrats over the top.

With Gov. David Paterson, Democrats will now control the full legislature and the governor’s office for the first time since 1935.

Democrats won three Senate seats downstate Tuesday to give them a 32-30 majority.

Little said the Democratic wave behind presidential candidate Barack Obama seemed to have a major impact on the State Senate races.

“He ran a very good campaign, and it was huge turnout for Democrats, and a lot of new Democrats turned out,” Little said.

The Republican-controlled Senate has long been seen as a champion of upstate and the North Country. For 37 years, from 1965 to 2002, the North Country benefited greatly from the service of Sen. Ronald B. Stafford, the Plattsburgh Republican who rose to the powerful position of chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

Stafford also forged a strong relationship with Republican Gov. George E. Pataki, who was in office from 1994 to 2006, which resulted in significant amounts of funding and support being given to the North Country.

Stafford, who died in 2005, was replaced by Little, who has held good standing in the majority since 2002.

Little said she has also developed some good relationships with Paterson and his staff, which she hopes will continue to help the North Country.

“I think with the way things are in this state and country, with the financial situation that way it is, people expect us to be bi-partisan and work together to solve these issues,” Little said.

“It is going to be more of a challenge, but I think we can do that, and I plan on continuing to be a strong voice for the North Country.”

Little ran unopposed in Tuesday’s election, garnering 75,128 votes in six counties.

“In a year like this, with so many people dissatisfied with the economy, we need to all work together to get this state back on track.”

E-mail Joe LoTemplio at:

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