Stewart-Cousins, of Yonkers, elected Senate minority leader

Andrea Stewart-Cousins, 35th Senatorial District Andrea Stewart-Cousins, 35th Senatorial District Photo Credit: New York State Senate

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Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins of Yonkers is the new minority leader of New York's state Senate.

She replaces Sen. John Sampson of Brooklyn, who took over the fractious conference following a political coup staged by Republicans and a few dissident Democrats in 2009.

Stewart-Cousins takes the leadership Monday, at a time when a bipartisan majority will rule the Senate. Thirty-one Republicans and Democratic Sen. Simcha Felder of Brooklyn, who is siding with the GOP, have allied with five members of the Independent Democratic Conference to assume control.

The Independent Democratic Conference broke from the Democratic Party in 2010 after two years of chaotic rule by Democrats.

Stewart-Cousins has been in the Senate since 2007 and is widely respected by Democrats and Republicans.

She represents the 35th Senate District, which covers Ardsley, Dobbs Ferry, Elmsford, Greenburgh, Hastings-on-Hudson, Irvington, Mount Pleasant, Pleasantville, Sleepy Hollow, Tarrytown and Yonkers.

She served as a legislator in the Westchester County Legislature from 1999 to 2006.

Stewart-Cousins is a widow, with three children. She was on the short list of lieutenant governor candidates to run alongside Andrew Cuomo during his successful gubernatorial bid in 2010.

She attended Pace University and Lehman College.

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