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Andrea Stewart-Cousins

Andrea Stewart-Cousins
Stewart-Cousins in 2013
Member of the New York Senate
from the 35th district
Assumed office
Preceded by Nicholas Spano
Personal details
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Residence Yonkers, New York
Alma mater Pace University
Lehman College
Pace University
Occupation Public Official

Andrea Stewart-Cousins (Democrat) is a New York State Senator for the 35th district representing Ardsley, Dobbs Ferry, Elmsford, Greenburgh, Hastings-on-Hudson, Irvington, Tarrytown, and parts of Yonkers, White Plains, and New Rochelle. Prior to being elected to the New York State Senate, she was a Westchester County Legislator. She was the first African American Woman County Legislator from Yonkers. Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins is the Democratic Conference Leader of the State Senate, the first African-American woman elected to the post.

Early Life & Career

Andrea Stewart-Cousins was born and raised in New York to parents that encouraged a life grounded in education and service. From the very beginning of her public service in government - as the first African American to serve as the Director of Community Affairs in the City of Yonkers, Andrea Stewart-Cousins has espoused the values of empathy, empowerment and service. These values, coupled with her strong belief in advocating for the underserved and championing the needs of working families has distinguished her as a trailblazer in local and State government.

Senator Stewart-Cousins earned her Bachelor of Science Degree from Pace University and her teaching credentials in Business Education from Lehman College. She is a recent graduate of Pace University (May 2008) with a Masters of Public Administration and is a proud member of Pi Alpha Alpha - Public Administration Honor Society. She spent twenty years in the public sector, and after thirteen years in sales and marketing with New York Telephone/AT&T, she pursued a career in journalism and teaching, prior to entering public service.

Political career

Prior to her election to the New York State Senate in 2006 to represent Greenburgh, Mount Pleasant and Yonkers, Andrea Stewart-Cousins served for a decade as a Westchester County Legislator. During her tenure (from 1996 to 2006), she was elected Majority Whip and Vice-Chair, and she authored and passed landmark legislation, including: Westchester County’s first human rights laws; living wage laws; smoke-free workplace laws; tougher gun laws; laws that prosecute "predatory lenders"; and laws that have provided tax cuts for seniors and veterans. As Chair of the Health Committee, Andrea Stewart-Cousins brought the "Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program" to Westchester County – after a successful pilot of this program in Yonkers. This model has since become a national cornerstone of enhanced community/medical rape crisis assistance.

Beginning in 1992 as the Director of Community Affairs for the City of Yonkers, Andrea Stewart-Cousins created an internship program for the hearing impaired and for children in working families. She has advocated for and contributed to the revitalization of the City of Yonkers and was a founder of the original "Art on Main Street," as well as a co-creator of "River Fest", which – in its seventeenth year – is a widely attended multi-cultural, ecologically oriented city-wide celebration.

Senator Stewart-Cousins is an advocate for human rights, quality education, accessible and affordable health care, youth development, environmental protections, and, making government more open, transparent and accountable to all of our citizens. Her belief that creating change locally affects changes on the State level has driven her legislative and policy agenda at home and in Albany. In her first term in the State Senate, she successfully fought to save the Community Hospital at Dobbs Ferry from closure, and worked with her colleagues in the State Legislature to provide additional funds for Yonkers city services and schools, while ensuring that State foundation aid to Westchester schools saw the highest increases in the last decade. Stewart-Cousins voted in favor of same-sex marriage legislation on December 2, 2009, but the bill was defeated.[1]

On April 17, 2010, it was reported that Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) was under consideration by Andrew Cuomo to be his choice for Lieutenant Governor.[2]


For her extensive legislative work and community service, Senator Stewart-Cousins has been honored with numerous citations and awards from organizations, including: the American Cancer Society, American Civil Liberties Union, the Hudson River Museum, and the National Association of Social Workers. The Senator was also named, "Woman of the Year" by the Business and Professional Women’s Club; "Legislator of the Year" by the Community Health Association of New York State; "Leader in Social Justice" by Pace Law School; and "Champion of Choice" by NYS Family Planning Advocates. In January 2009, Senator Stewart-Cousins made New York State history as the first African-American woman to preside over the Senate.

Personal life

Senator Stewart-Cousins resides in Yonkers, was married to the late Thomas Cousins and has three children and two grandchildren.

See also


  • New York State Senate: Andrea Stewart-Cousins biography

External links

  • New York State Senate: Andrea Stewart-Cousins
Preceded by
Nicholas Spano
New York State Senate, 35th District
Political offices
Preceded by
Betty Little
Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Local Governments
Succeeded by
Jack Martins
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