Little reflects on 25 years of serving New York’s North Country

Published: Dec. 9, 2020 at 6:30 PM EST
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PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (WCAX) - Longtime North Country politician Betty Little is calling it a career after 25 years of public service. Our Kelly O’Brien sat down with the state senator to talk about her career and what comes next.

“I never anticipated having the career that I’ve had,” said Sen. Little, R-Queensbury.

Before becoming a state senator and assemblywoman, Little was an elementary school teacher and a mom.

“I had my first child and I was a stay-at-home mom for 19 years with six children,” she said.

The Republican spent nearly a decade on the Warren County Board of Supervisors before being asked to run for the Assembly.

“I had the good fortune to win that election,” Little said.

After seven years, she moved up to the state Senate.

In her time as a public servant, Little did a lot of traveling in her district. Fun fact: New York’s 45th Senate District is the largest Senate district in the state spanning Warren, Essex, Franklin, Clinton and parts of St. Lawrence and Washington counties. Little has visited them all.

“The things that are being made in this district and the businesses and how hard the people work. I’m very proud of this district and all the people in it,” she said.

Little passionately fought to bring better broadband and cell coverage to the North Country and says she will continue to advocate for even better service in her retirement.

“That has to be available and accessible and affordable to everyone in the district,” she said.

She’s not leaving the region for good. She is a new member of the ORDA board and a key player in bringing the World University Games to Lake Placid.

“Everything that we have will be topnotch and it’s an economic engine, it’s an economic engine for the whole area,” Little said.

But this wasn’t the last year in office she planned for. Of course, there is the pandemic, and then a more personal health care challenge; Little has breast cancer.

“I’m feeling fine, really and I think just about totally recovered,” she said.

Little shared her story publicly in October to remind women that even in a pandemic, you need to get your checkups.

“Everybody needs to be watching for it. You’re not going to find it on your own,” she said.

And she’s not letting cancer slow her down.

In her retirement, Little plans to spend some much needed time with friends and family and to do a little exploring. She has roots in Ireland and has a monthlong trip planned for next year. She is just hoping that COVID is over by then so it doesn’t interfere.

And Little got a shoutout on the U.S. House floor on Wednesday from a fellow New York lawmaker.

“I am proud to call Betty Little a legislative partner, a role model and a dear friend,” said Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-New York. “I offer Betty my most sincere congratulations and gratitude, and I wish her and her family all the best in this next chapter. It is my privilege to highlight her accomplishments in the congressional record.”

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