Elizabeth O'Connor "Betty" Little (born 1940) is a New York State Senator. A member of the Republican Party, she was first elected in 2002. She serves in the 45th Senate District, which includes all or part of Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, Warren and Washington Counties. Little was born in Glens Falls, and currently resides in Queensbury.
After the appointment of Kirsten Gillibrand to the United States Senate in January 2009, Little expressed interest in running for U.S. Congress in New York's 20th congressional district and announced her intention to seek the Republican nomination for the special election for the seat. The nomination went instead to Assembly Minority Leader Jim Tedisco.
Prior to her election to the State Senate in November 2002, she served in the New York State Assembly for seven years where she was a member of numerous committees and task forces. Senator Little first entered public service as a member and later Chair of the Town of Queensbury Recreation Commission. In 1986 she was elected to serve as an At-Large Supervisor to the Warren County Board of Supervisors for the Town of Queensbury, where she served on numerous boards and committees and as County Budget Officer in 1990 and 1991.
Senator Little is a graduate of St. Mary's Academy and The College of Saint Rose with a degree in Elementary Education. A former teacher and real estate agent, Little is the mother of six (Elizabeth, David, Robert, Thomas, Carolyn, and Luke) and the grandmother of ten.
In 2004, Little was endorsed by the New York State Right to Life Committee, and NARAL Pro-Choice America has considered her voting record on reproductive issues to be anti-abortion most years. In 2000, Little received a 0% rating from NARAL. Little also opposes embryonic stem cell research, emergency contraception, and sex education.
Little has been a strong advocate for "balance" in the pursuit of environmental and economic objectives in her district, which includes a large portion of the highly regulated Adirondack Park. She has consistently sought a stronger role for local governments in planning and development decisions, and criticized the most radical environmentalists for opposing almost any form of economic development. Her advocacy for balance has resulted in some notable successes, including the expansion of cell phone access in previously unserved areas of the Adirondacks such as a 64 mile "black out zone" on I-87 where several accidents in recent years highlighted the public hazard of non-existent communications technology.
Little has been a conservative Senator, opposing higher spending and taxes in New York State and generally supporting measures designed to facilitate economic development and small business success She has been a leader in efforts to foster economic connections with neighboring Canada to successfully redevelop the former Plattsburgh Air Force Base, to pursue the creation of affordable broadband access in her rural district to expand access to alternative energy choices and to promote new job creation in pharmaceuticals, transportation equipment and aerospace.
Little voted "No" on the Gay Marriage Senate Bill in December 2009 and the bill received no Republican support, unlike in the Assembly where her counterpart, Teresa Sayward, also a Republican, voted in favor of the bill. Little has said she supports civil unions. In 2011, Little voted against the Marriage Equality Act, which the Senate passed 33-29. roll call
Gun ownership rights
Little also generally opposes new forms of gun control, receiving an A from the NRA in 2004 and a 0% from New Yorkers Against Gun Violence in 2002. Her district includes a large portion of the Adirondack mountains where hunting is both a traditional activity and a major economic activity.
Little has played a leading role in advocating for rural health care in her district, including support for the maintenanace and expansion of health services at the several hospitals she represents, the preservation of nursing homes, and the facilitation of expanded health insurance choice.
Little has been a leading proponent for local government reform and shared services, initiating a state Shared Services Program which provides incentives for local taxing jurisdictions to consider consolidations or the sharing of programs, staff and equipment.
- "Betty Little Announces Plans To Replace Gillibrand". Hearst Stations Inc. on behalf of WPTZ-TV. 2009-01-23. Retrieved 2010-06-15.
- "Senator Elizabeth O'Connor 'Betty' Little (NY)". Project Smart Vote. Retrieved 2010-06-15.
|New York Assembly|
James P. King
|New York State Assembly, 109th District
|New York State Senate|
|New York State Senate, 45th District
Jose M. Serrano
|Chairwoman of the Senate Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation Committee