New York Governor Andrew Cuomo did his best to mix optimism with realism during his inaugural State of the State address Wednesday afternoon.
Those positive vibes seem to be contagious, as area lawmakers are expressing optimism that Cuomo will be able to right the ship in Albany and get New York's economy back on track.
Republican state Senator Betty Little says that while the rampant optimism may sound like political rhetoric to some, it's critical if leaders plan to accomplish anything in 2011.
"If we aren't optimistic about the future, the fortitude to make the
tough decisions will be lacking," she said following Cuomo's speech. "The divisiveness of hyper-partisan politics has to end and be replaced with a constructive dialogue that leads to sensible policy decisions."
Little notes that closing a projected $10 billion budget deficit will require significant and painful cuts, but she's confident Cuomo has a firm grip on the challenges that lie ahead.
"I think he realizes that we have to make some drastic change here," she said. "The reality is the money is no longer available. You can't continue the way we've gone in the past. We have to cut spending, taxes, and create jobs - and it's not going to be easy. But I think the governor is looking in a very bipartisan way to work with everyone."
Little says she'll do her best to work with the new administration.
"I certainly am willing to work with him on reducing the size of the government, creating jobs here in the North Country, and trying to transfer our economy from one that is based upon and dependent upon government jobs to one that will be dependent upon private sector jobs."
Republican Janet Duprey, who represents New York's 114th Assembly District, says Cuomo seems to be focused on reviving a stagnant upstate economy.
"He talked about his 10 regional councils, I'm anxious to see where they are going to be located - I hope there will be one in the North Country," she said. "And I particularly liked his comments on public, private creation of jobs - there has to be collaboration between the public and the private. And get rid of the mandates the state imposes on small business - the taxes and the fees."
Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward called Cuomo's address - quote - "encouraging," adding she looks forward to working with the new governor.
Speaking on the floor of the Empire State Convention Center following the speech, Sayward said New Yorkers can be proud of their new governor.
"He spokes about all of the things that we've been hearing about in our districts - that the people want to have happen," she said. "He talked about retooling government, getting back to the basics - not making cuts for the sake of making cuts, but finding out how we can deliver services better for less money. He talked about rewarding schools with more money for performance. I could go on and on about what he said. I think his budget will be a good one and a good start to getting New York back on track."
Cuomo repeatedly called for lawmakers to put aside partisan politics and Sayward says that's exactly what needs to happen. She was pleased with Cuomo's emphasis on easing the tax burden on New Yorkers.
"The best way to do that is to rein in spending and I am confident that we are headed in the right direction," she said.