MALTA -- State Sen. Roy McDonald was sworn into office before a crowd of nearly 200 supporters on Wednesday, marking the advent of his second term and his first as a member of the majority party.
After taking the oath of office, McDonald, R-Saratoga, said he hoped his next term would usher in a new era of prosperity and job growth for his district and the state, despite difficult challenges.
Closing a state deficit that could top $10 billion, relief from burdensome property taxes and creating good-paying local jobs will be among his top priorities, he said.
"We can't be afraid of this (economic uncertainty)," McDonald said. "We've got to be motivated by it. We've got to take these resources that we see around us and go charging into the future. This is no time for weakness."
McDonald's swearing-in came nearly two months after he beat Democrat Joanne Yepsen, a Saratoga Springs supervisor who appeared on the state ballot for the first time.
McDonald captured 58 percent of the vote to win the 43rd state Senate district, which covers the southwest section of Saratoga County and all of Rensselaer County.
An HVCC alumni and Troy native, McDonald began his career as a Wilton town supervisor three decades ago, later becoming the chairman of the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors. He spent six years as a state assemblyman before being elected in 2008 to replace longtime state Sen. Joe Bruno, who retired.
Local officials who gathered for the swearing in touted his contributions to the area over that time and said they were glad to see him earn another term.
"I couldn't be happier or more confident," said Saratoga Supervisor Tom Wood, the incoming chairman of the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors. "He really lives and breathes Saratoga County."
Wood said he hoped McDonald would focus on job growth, relieving counties of state mandates, fixing the state's beleaguered racing industry and resolving issues surrounding the Luther Forest Technology Campus.
After the event, which was paid for by McDonald's election committee, McDonald said one of his immediate priorities will be to resolve issues with the state budget, due out in February.
McDonald has not voted for either of the last two state spending plans, which he described as "disastrous," and said every expense would have to be examined in trying to balance the budget.
"We have to make sure that every dollar we spend is justified," said McDonald, who has not received his committee assignments but has requested a role on the finance committee, which has budgetary power.
McDonald is one of three state senators from the region who won re-election in November and helped the GOP regain control of the chamber.
State Sens. Betty Little, R-Queensbury, and Hugh Farley, R-Schenectady, are also returning to Albany next year. All state senators will be officially sworn in at the state Capitol on Jan. 5.