Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins’ ascent to the top of the Senate Democratic Conference—making her the first woman to lead a legislative conference in Albany—is “exciting,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday.
Asked about Stewart-Cousins following a cabinet meeting, Cuomo offered praise for the Yonkers Democrat. Stewart-Cousins was tapped as the leader of the Senate Democrats yesterday in a private, 19-6 vote among her colleagues.
“I think it’s exciting that the Democrats have picked the first woman leader,” Cuomo said. “I know Andrea. I know her well. I’ve supported her for a long time. I think she’s a very competent, able person.”
Stewart-Cousins, 62, succeeds Sen. John Sampson, D-Brooklyn, as minority leader of the state Senate. Sampson, who first became leader in 2009, saw his conference’s chances of retaking the majority scuttled by a power-sharing agreement between Republicans and the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference.
Cuomo has been criticized by left-leaning groups for not doing more to help the Senate Democrats retake control of the chamber. He had nice things to say about Stewart-Cousins, but cautioned that leadership in the Senate is an issue for senators.
“Again, I think it’s very exciting that she’s a woman. But I will leave that up to them. They pick their leader,” Cuomo said. “That’s their business and my opinion isn’t all that relevant.”