Stewart-Cousins chosen to lead Senate Democrats next session

Legislative Gazette file photo

Andrea Stewart-Cousins was unanimously re-elected by her Democratic Conference colleagues as president pro tempore and majority leader of the New York State Senate. 

Stewart-Cousins, who represents Greenburgh, Scarsdale, and parts of White Plains, New Rochelle, and Yonkers, has served as leader of the Senate Democratic Conference since December 2012, and was the first woman and African American woman to be elected as a conference leader in state history. 

Following the 2018 elections and the strong Democratic Majority elected by New York voters, Andrea Stewart-Cousins became the first woman and African American woman to lead a legislative majority in New York.

“I am honored and humbled to be re-elected by my Democratic colleagues to continue my service as majority leader of the New York state Senate,” Stewart-Cousins said. 

Since 2018, the Senate Democrats have passed legislation that protects LGBTQ New Yorkers, codified abortion rights, created new gun restrictions for domestic abusers, established new rights for immigrants, adopted workplace harassment laws, passed the Child Victims Act and eliminated cash bail for most misdemeanors and non-violent felonies.

“During our first session as the Democratic Majority, we enacted historic legislation to protect and expand New Yorkers’ rights and build a stronger and fairer state for all residents,” Stewart-Cousins said. “The voters clearly supported our efforts and agenda as they elected the largest majority in Senate history and the first modern Democratic supermajority. We will use this mandate to help lead New York State forward as we address the ongoing pandemic and rebuild from this economic crisis.”

Stewart-Cousins is maintaining her existing leadership team with Sen. Michael Gianaris of Queens serving as deputy majority leader and chair of the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee and Sen. Jose Serrano, of the South Bronx, serving as chair of the Majority Conference. 

Prior to being elected into the Senate in 2016, Stewart-Cousins, a former journalist and teacher, received her bachelor’s degree from Pace University and her teaching credentials in Business Education from Lehman College. She continued pursuing a higher education even in office, receiving her master’s of public administration degree from her alma mater, Pace University in 2008.

“In her time as our leader, the New York State Senate has been transformed from a dysfunctional body where good legislation went to die, into the effective deliberative body that the people of New York deserve, taking on challenging and important issues through a collaborative approach that ensures voices from all corners of the state are heard and respected,” Sen. Anna Kaplan said.

“New York is facing immense challenges ahead as we continue to battle the Covid-19 pandemic, and there is no one better suited to move New York forward than Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins.”