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New York State Government Goes Blue, What Does It Mean For Upstate?

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BROOME COUNTY, N.Y. -

It's been nearly a century since democrats have held this many seats in the New York State Senate. Election Night 2018 brought in big wins for the party, who took over the U.S. House of Representatives and have now turned New York State blue, controlling the governorship, Assembly, and Senate. 

There are only four democrats representing upstate Senate districts. With most of the upstate senators now in the minority party, it begs the question, how will this shift in power affect the state outside of the metropolitan area? State Assemblywoman and democrat Donna Lupardo says it is a bit of a double-edged sword. Lupardo says this new environment could make it easier to now pass certain bills into law.

"Certainly campaign finance reform, online registration, early voting that people want. Closing the LLC loophole," says Lupardo.

When it comes to that upstate/downstate dynamic, Lupardo says it's going to take some strong advocating from those few upstate democrats and their republican colleagues. 

"There's the issue of the budget and where resources are spent. And that's where it's going to be essential that those of us who work and live and represent upstate are very strong voices in this conversation. And of course my colleagues on the republican senate are very good at that," says Lupardo.

One of those colleagues is, of course, Senator Fred Akshar. Akshar won in an uncontested race and now is in the minority party. He declined an interview, but did release the following statement. 

I'm so incredibly grateful to the people of the 52nd Senate District for their continued support as we fight for our upstate community's needs and values in Albany. Whether in the Majority or Minority of the New York State Senate, I'll never stop fighting for the people of our great district. When I was first elected three years ago, I pledged to be a loud and energetic voice for the people I represent, and I'll do everything in my power to make sure that the leaders of this state listen to our collective voice.

— Fred Akshar (R), New York State Senate