Long Island Democrats expressed excitement Saturday about Andrew Cuomo's pledge to reform Albany, while Republicans said Cuomo's theme was short of specifics and could put him at odds with his own party.

"It's right on target," said Richard Schaffer, chairman of the Suffolk County Democratic Party, of Cuomo's reform-pegged campaign kickoff speech Saturday in Manhattan.

"If anybody thinks we don't have big problems they have their head in the sand," Schaffer said. "Things have to change in Albany, from a budget standpoint and ethical considerations."

Cuomo's experience as attorney general, including investigating Wall Street corruption, and his work as U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, make him the right candidate for the state's troubled times, Schaffer said.

"I think we need someone who can be firm yet compassionate," he said.

Meanwhile, a statement released after Cuomo's announcement by Edward F. Cox, chairman of the New York State Republican Party, said Cuomo has yet to tell voters much about how he intends to govern, or about the policies upon which he'd campaign.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

"The elusive and clandestine Cuomo has given New Yorkers little information about how he will deal with the most pressing fiscal issues confronting state government," said Cox, who was born in Southampton. "The budget deficit, Medicaid and pension costs, which affect millions, are breaking the backs of taxpayers."

Jay Jacobs, chairman of the Nassau County Democrats, said Cuomo laid out a reform agenda for state government.

"It's what the public has been asking for," Jacobs said. "As attorney general, his record has been very clear in fighting for consumers, fighting for average Americans, and against very powerful interests."

Jacobs cited Cuomo's support for state legislation that made it easier for local governments to consolidate and give power "back to the voters and taxpayers." Elimination of special districts, which can impose taxes, can now be put on the ballot, Jacobs said.

Cuomo will also call for a 20 percent reduction of state authorities and departments in state government, Jacobs said.

"He has a record of substantive accomplishment," he said.

State Senate Minority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) said the issues that Cuomo said he would support if elected had a familiar ring.

"I found it very interesting that a number of proposals - job creation, cap on state spending, cap on real property taxes - are all proposals we as Republicans put forth when Republicans were in the majority," Skelos said.

If elected, Cuomo's "main obstacle will be [Assembly Speaker Sheldon] Silver, not the Republicans," Skelos said.