Behind Stewart-Cousins, Democrats take control of State SenatePosted: Updated:
Wednesday marked the first day of the 2019 legislative session.
For the first time in decades, Democrats hold all three branches of New York state government.
Dozens of supporters from the Hudson Valley were on hand to cheer state Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-35th District), who was officially elected as Senate majority leader - making her the first black woman in state history to hold that powerful position.
In her speech, the Democratic leader spoke of the discrimination her parents faced and how proud they would be of her achievement.
She insists under her leadership that things will be different in Albany, and she vowed to pass progressive laws that she said voters have demanded but were blocked for decades by Republican leadership
“We're going to give New York an honest ethical government they deserve,” she said.
Wednesday was also the first day on the job for 17 new senators, including Pete Harckham and Alessandra Biaggi.
Harckham says the Democratic agenda includes election reform, reproductive health care, gun safety laws and criminal justice reform.
The Senate is back in session next week and lawmakers say they will waste no time getting down to business.