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Stewart-Cousins unanimously voted first female NY State Senate leader

Senate Democrats are holding a press conference at the Capitol today for incoming Senate majority leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.

ALBANY, N.Y. -- The "three men in a room" at the State Capitol will now be “two men and a woman.”

Democrat Andrea Stewart-Cousins became the first ever female senate majority leader in state history when her colleagues unanimously chose her to lead Albany's upper chamber. Her party gained eight new seats this past election, giving democrats control of the senate for the first time in a decade.

"We know in January people will get, finally, the government that they've been voting for for so many years," Stewart-Cousins said.

She says her appointment brings broader representation into the Capitol.

"Women hold up half of this state, so the fact that there was never a woman in the room has always been something that I found troubling," Stewart-Cousins said.

This will also be the first time that both chambers in the legislature will have African-American leaders. The downstate democrat supplants Republican John Flanagan, who said in a statement that Stewart-Cousins is a class act, and looks forward to working with her.

Stewart-Cousins is part of a growing number of women in public office. A Rutgers University study found that six women led a state Assembly in 2018, while 13 women had leadership roles in a state Senate.

Governor Andrew Cuomo also gets one party rule in the empire state for the first time in his tenure.

"Today more than ever, we need people like Leader Stewart-Cousins to forge the path ahead for this great state,” Cuomo said in a statement.

With control of both chambers and the Governor’s office, the democrats have a big wish list for their next session. They're hoping to pass the Child Victim's Act, strengthen abortion rights and pass the New York Health Act. If passed, The New York Health Act would be the first ever state-run single-payer healthcare system in history.

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