Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo last week took his senior staff upstate to mend some fences and build a platform for the 2016 legislative session. He made it clear he's building a big upstate agenda after some regional leaders complained this legislative session was too New York City-centric.

A well-funded upstate focus in the coming legislative election year would also serve Cuomo's allies in the Senate's Republican majority. They will face another big challenge for control in a year Hillary Clinton may top the ticket. Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-East Northport), meanwhile, defended Cuomo as liberal Democrats continued to slam Cuomo for his transactional politics and cozy relationship with Senate Republicans.

"When we are working with the governor, we not only should be --  we have to," Flanagan said.