Senate Democratic Leader Says Conference Has Changed

Jun 6, 2014

Credit Dave Lucas / WAMC

The leader of the New York State Senate Democrats says if Governor Andrew Cuomo is successful in helping retake the chamber for Democrats in the fall elections, she expects the Senate to be much more functional than it was the last time the Democrats were in power.

Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins says her Democratic conference is nothing like the one in 2009 and 2010, the last time the Democrats were in power. The period was marked by corruption, partisan strife, and even a coup attempt. Now, one of the former leaders who were Stewart-Cousins’ predecessors is in jail, another is on trial, and a third has been indicted.

She says it’s a different Senate now.

“First of all there’s new leadership,” said Stewart-Cousins. “There’s a brand new conference. We have 14 new members since that time.”

She says the Democrats are also racially, ethnically, and geographically diverse.

And she says most New Yorkers want many measures that the current leadership of Republicans and break away Democrats have been unable to pass, including a higher minimum wage and college aid for children of undocumented immigrants.