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Area politicians express dismay over Spitzer's prostitution link

ALBANY As increasingly sordid details of Gov. Eliot Spitzers alleged link to a high-priced prostitution ring unfolded this week, politicians in the region expressed shock and dismay over the allegations of his behavior, including accusations of spending up to $80,000 on sex with prostitutes, and money laundering to pay for the encounters. At press time Wednesday, speculation that Spitzer would resign reached a near-consensus among political observers, and a growing chorus of state Republican politicians said theyd launch impeachment proceedings if he didnt resign. State Sen. Betty Little (R-Queensbury) hinted at resignation, while state Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward was blunt about it. Both said they felt sorry for the governors family members. "This is shocking news and a dark day for New York State government, Little said in a prepared statement. Obviously, an incredibly poor decision was made and I would hope the governor will now make an appropriate decision that enables our state to move forward quickly. In her call for resignation, Sayward noted the pressing legislative agenda that is now in limbo while lawmakers are left fretting about the future of the states administration. "This is a very difficult time for the people of New York. -- there is still much work left to do towards passing an equitable and on-time budget, she said. In this unsettled atmosphere I feel that the right thing for the governor to do is to resign." While only hinting at Spitzers resignation, Little also noted the pending legislative issues that need attention. "We mustn't let this issue detract us from our responsibility, she said. It's important we quickly regain our focus to work through what is certain to be a challenging budget process and deal with dozens of other issues. Little called attention to how Spitzers dalliances and thepolitical fallout are so far removed from the urgent concerns of North Country residents. The fact is, that at the end of the day, families will still be struggling to afford to put gas in their cars, and homeowners will be contemplating having to sell their house because of high property taxes, she said. Seniors will be unsure if they will be able to fill their next prescription -- Our constituents need us to govern and the sooner we can put this behind us the better." Also voicing how distant Spitzer now seemed from the common folk was Warren County Democratic Party Chairman William Montfort of Johnsburg. Montfort campaigned hard for Spitzer, celebrated his landslide win in 2006, and knew Spitzer and his wife on a personal basis. Unlike Democrats on a statewide and national level who nearly unanimously said they didnt want to comment until they had more information Montfort was outspoken on Spitzer and called for him to step down soon. His actions are both stupid and a disgrace, Montfort said. He should resign as soon as he gets an immunity deal from the Feds, and the faster his resignation happens, the better off he is, the party is, state government is, and the people of the state too. Montfort said he was distressed that Spitzer held others to a far higher standard than he set for his own conduct considering the governors apparent money laundering and sex solicitation. Our party and our state doesnt need this, he said. Saratoga County Democratic Party Chairman Larry Bulmans reaction was more muted. I think this is terrible I feel bad for all the people who went out and worked hard on his behalf to change New York, he said. Governor Spitzer had a lot of great ideas on paper, Bulman said. Eliot has a wonderful family and its so unfortunate for them. Bulmans attention focused on the future, rather than Spitzers fate, as he weighed the probability that Lt. Governor David A. Paterson would soon take the helm of state government. Bulman predicted Paterson would bring both Democrats and Republicans together to get legislative work accomplished if he stepped up to the Governors post. Paterson may be legally blind and cant read a teleprompter, but he is very intelligent, Bulman said. Hes very good at working across both sides of the aisle Bulman added that Paterson would likely be able to easily strike legislative compromises between state Assembly Leader Sheldon Silver and state Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno. Paterson knows the laws of the state extremely well and he and Bruno have a very good relationship, Bulman said.

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