ALBANY - Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo is welcoming officials from across the political spectrum to his transition team with open arms - if not a big old bear hug.
The Democrat and current attorney general was overwhelmingly elected as New York's next governor Nov. 2, soundly defeating Tea Party Republican Carl Paladino.
Cuomo began announcing his transition team last week and it appears - on the surface at least - that he's ready to work with Republicans and Democrats alike to bring New York out of its fiscal crisis.
Two North Country officials - state Sen. Betty Little and Franklin County District Attorney Derek Champagne - have been named to Cuomo's transition team. Both are Republicans.
Little will serve on Cuomo's State and Local Government Reform transition committee. She says she's pleased to lend a hand to the governor-elect.
"Serving on a transition team is an honor," she said. "As a former locally elected official and having led the Senate Local Government Committee, I look forward to sharing my perspective and adding to the discussion of how best to deal with the fiscal crisis impacting our state government and our municipalities."
Meanwhile, Champagne was appointed to Cuomo's Public Safety transition subcommittee. He'll also serve on Democratic Attorney General-elect Eric Schneiderman's transition team.
North Country Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward - a Republican - thinks Cuomo is doing his best to unite a fractured political scene in Albany.
"If you look at the economic development transition team that he's put together, you've got Garry Douglas from the Plattsburgh-North Country Chamber of Commerce and our GOP Assembly leader Brian Kolb," she said. "Cuomo has tried to reach out and get an assortment of folks, irrespective of their political affiliations."
Whether or not Cuomo continues to preach bipartisanship after he takes office in January remains to be seen, Sayward says.
"I hope that this is just not eye candy for all of us to see," she said. "I hope this will be the way he operates when he takes office."
Cuomo will need Democrats and Republicans to work together come January, as it appears likely that the state Senate will fall into Republican control.