As Albany Update has previously reported, there is a sea change coming to the State Capitol with the Senate Democratic Conference securing enough legislative seats to handily control the State Senate next year. With the changing of the guard, comes a change in leadership.
On November 26, 2018, the Senate Democrats unanimously chose Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) to serve as the Senate Majority Leader for the 2019-20 legislative session. The unofficial vote will be formalized when the full Senate convenes in January 2019, but no upsets are expected.
New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms has had a respectful, but distant relationship with the incoming Madame Majority Leader. This is due to the fact that the senator is a sponsor of the Reproductive Health Act (better known by many as the Abortion Expansion Act). Nevertheless, we cannot help but acknowledge the historic moment that is about to occur. Jason J. McGuire, Executive Director, New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, said:
“New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms congratulates Majority Leader-elect Andrea Stewart-Cousins upon this momentous occasion. MartinLuther King, Jr. once famously declared, ‘I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.’ Never in our state history has a legislative conference been led by a woman, let alone an African-American woman. New Yorkers should momentarily put politic differences aside and recognize that Sen. Stewart-Cousins was chosen by her peers not because of her race or gender, but because of her leadership qualifications.”
“1 Timothy 2 commands Christians to pray for those in authority over them. There will be many challenges ahead for Sen.Stewart-Cousins and her colleagues. Whether we agree or disagree with the decisions of our leaders, our organization reminds believers to pray for those who steer our state’s course. Where possible, New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms looks forward to working with the Majority Leader-elect in a way that advances the values we passionately support. Where not possible, we are committed to respectful dialogue and firm opposition. However, in either case, our prayers are with Sen. Andrea Stewart Cousins and her colleagues.”
Following a contested vote in his conference, Senator John Flanagan (R-Northport) will serve as the Senate Minority Leader. The Speaker of the Assembly will continue to be Assemblyman Carl Heastie (D-Bronx).The Assembly Minority Leader will be Assemblyman Brian Kolb (R-Canandaigua),who has the distinction of serving as the longest tenured of the legislative leaders.