Earlier this evening, the Senate Democratic Conference officially gave the boot to John Sampson and handed their top leadership position to Westchester’s Andrea Stewart-Cousins. In order to stress their unity, the Senate Democrats sent out a press release with almost every member of their conference touting Ms. Stewart-Cousins’s credentials and prospects going forward. They even included a statement from “Senator-Elect Cecilia Tkaczyk,” whose opponent just declared victory in a race the Democrats are still contesting.
For his part, Mr. Sampson took the news humbly, simply saying, “I look forward to working with Leader Stewart Cousins as we move the Democratic Conference forward serving all New Yorkers. The people of New York want a progressive and democratic agenda and that is what the Democratic Conference under the leadership of Senator Stewart Cousins will provide.”
The significance of today’s announcement is difficult to ascertain. Although a majority of the State Senate will belong to members registered to the Democratic Party, five Democrats have their own breakaway conference and one conservative Democrat stated he will directly caucus with the GOP.
View the full bombardment of supportive quotes below:
Senate Democratic Conference Announces Senator Andrea Stewart Cousins as New Conference Leader
First Female Legislative Conference Leader in State History
The Senate Democratic Conference has announced that Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins has been selected by the Conference as leader. Senator Stewart-Cousins, from Yonkers, New York and representing the 35th Senate District would be the first female Conference Leader in the history of the State.
Leader Stewart-Cousins has long been an advocate for good government reform including campaign finance reform and has been one of the leading progressive leaders in New York pushing for raising the minimum wage, standing up for women’s health, help for small businesses, enacting common sense gun laws, and providing real mandate relief for local communities.
“I am truly humbled and honored to be selected by my colleagues for this position. I look forward to advocating for the progressive agenda that the people of New York have demanded. I will work with my colleagues in the Republican and IDC Coalition to ensure that the progressive issues that both the Governor and our conference believe in are advanced,” said Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins. “I want to thank Senator Sampson for all his hard work and his dedication to the Senate Democratic Conference and to the people of New York.”
“I look forward to working with Leader Stewart Cousins as we move the Democratic Conference forward serving all New Yorkers. The people of New York want a progressive and democratic agenda and that is what the Democratic Conference under the leadership of Senator Stewart Cousins will provide,” stated Senator John Sampson.
The Senate Democratic Conference laid out a progressive agenda New Yorkers responded to and have overwhelmingly demanded through their votes on Election Day. Senate Democrats will continue to lead the fight on this progressive agenda.
Senator Joe Addabbo said, “I commend our new Democratic Conference leader, Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, for her dedication to the conference and the hard working men and women of New York State. I look forward to working with her to advance the progressive agenda the voters sent us to Albany to achieve.”
Senator Neil Breslin said, “I applaud Senator Stewart-Cousins on becoming the next leader of the Senate Democratic Conference. The people of New York expect progressive leadership from their state representatives, and under Senator Stewart-Cousins, that is exactly what we are going to ensure gets done.”
Senator Adriano Espaillat said, “Under Conference Leader Stewart-Cousins, Senate Democrats will continue to be a powerful voice for New York’s working families. I look forward to working with Senator Stewart-Cousins to continue to grow the Democratic conference and apply progressive solutions to move our state forward.”
Senator Mike Gianaris said, “I want to give my immense thanks to John Sampson for his leadership and I look forward to working with Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins. Her historic election will help move our conference forward and help us pass the progressive agenda that we successfully ran on and the people of New York have demanded.”
Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson said, “I am proud to join my Democratic colleagues on this historic occasion in applauding our new Conference Leader, Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins. Senator Stewart-Cousins has been an excellent public servant, and I am confident she will be an exceptional leader for our conference.”
Senator Tim Kennedy said, “Senator Stewart-Cousins has been a voice for the underserved and a champion for working families. Today she earned her place in history by becoming the first female, African-American Minority Leader in New York State history. I look forward to working with her and continuing to move this state in a new direction by championing issues that are important to Western New Yorkers.”
Senator Liz Krueger said, “Senator Stewart-Cousins will ensure that New York remains committed to a progressive agenda. She has been a great Senator and I know will be a great Conference Leader.”
Senator Jose Peralta said, “I am proud to support Senator Stewart-Cousins as Democratic Conference Leader. This next session will be extremely important and we must work together to ensure the people of New York have a strong voice fighting for them in Albany to increase the minimum wage and enact common sense gun laws.”
Senator Jose Serrano said, “I commend Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins and look forward to serving with her as our new Democratic Conference leader. The residents of New York have repeatedly called for progressive leadership, and that is exactly what Senator Stewart-Cousins, and the entire Democratic Conference, will provide.”
Senator Daniel Squadron said, “Today we made history, electing the first woman leader of a New York legislative conference. I look forward to working with Senator Stewart-Cousins’ leadership to continue to move forward the progressive foundation that Senator Sampson has built.”
Senator-Elect Terry Gipson said, “I am eager to get to Albany and fight for my constituents. I am honored to support Senator Stewart-Cousins as Democratic Conference Leader.”
Senator-Elect Brad Hoylman said, “I look forward to taking my place in the State Senate this January to begin representing the interests of all my constituents. I am proud to be part of an historic first for New York State Government. With Senator Stewart-Cousins as our leader, I am confident that together with my Democratic colleagues we will give New Yorkers the progressive government they deserve. I commend Senator Sampson for laying the groundwork for our conference’s further success.”
Senator-Elect George Latimer said, “I served with Democratic Leader Stewart-Cousins in both the State Legislature and the Westchester County Legislature and I know that she will be a strong voice for Democratic values.”
Senator-Elect Ted O’Brien said, “It is an honor for me to take my place alongside my Democratic Senate colleagues to select Senator Stewart-Cousins as our conference leader. I look forward to serving under her leadership and working to represent my constituents, and all New Yorkers, in the State Senate.”
Senator-Elect Cecilia Tkaczyk said, “As I stand ready to complete the election process and take my place in the State Senate, I look forward to serving with Senator Stewart-Cousins as she leads the Senate Democratic Conference into the next legislative session and beyond.