The times of “three males in a room” in Albany are over.
State Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) is about to be picked as the subsequent Senate majority chief on Monday — making her the primary lady to steer a home within the state legislature.
The ascendance of Stewart-Cousins, who’s black, will even mark the primary time that each the state Senate and Meeting, which is run by Speaker Carl Heastie (D-The Bronx), will probably be headed by African-Individuals.
Democratic activist Brette McSweeney stated Stewart-Cousins’ new position was sure to place ladies’s points — together with sexual harassment and abortion rights — on the entrance burner in Albany.
“This can be a historic second,” stated McSweeney, president of “Eleanor’s Legacy,” which promotes the election of pro-choice, Democratic ladies.
“It can’t be overstated how historic and necessary it’s to have a lady — a black lady — on the desk. It’s not three males in a room anymore.”
For many years, deal-making involving the state finances and main laws has been hammered out in secret by the governor, the Senate majority chief and the Meeting speaker, who have been all the time male.
However the shady follow of getting “three males in a room” make the state’s most necessary selections got here below scrutiny amid latest corruption scandals that led to the convictions of former Majority Leaders Malcolm Smith and Dean Skelos, and longtime Meeting Speaker Sheldon Silver.
“Why three males?” then-Manhattan US Lawyer Preet Bharara requested whereas saying expenses in opposition to Silver in 2015.
“Can there be a lady? Do they all the time must be white? How small is the room that they’ll solely match three males? Is it three males in a closet? Are there cigars? Can they’ve Cuban cigars now? After some time, doesn’t it get a bit of gamy in that room?”
Democrats regained management of the state Senate earlier this month, when voters elected a number of candidates who will give the social gathering a 40-to-23 edge over the GOP subsequent 12 months.
Democrats presently outnumber Republicans 32-to-31, however state Sen. Simcha Felder (D-Brooklyn) has tipped the steadiness of energy by siding with the GOP.
For the reason that Nov. 6 election, Stewart-Cousins — who’s been minority chief since 2013 — has joked in interviews about how there would quickly be “three individuals within the room.”
Fellow Senate Democrats are scheduled to fulfill behind closed doorways on Monday to resolve whether or not to maintain her answerable for their caucus.
All the Senate will vote on its majority chief early subsequent 12 months.
State Sen. Shelley Mayer (D-Port Chester) stated the elevation of Stewart-Cousins — coupled with the ouster of dozens of crooked pols in recent times — signaled a recent begin for New York’s scandal-scarred state authorities.
“We’re embarking on a brand new day,” Mayer stated.
“I’ve unbelievable religion in Andrea’s integrity and her ardour to doing the fitting factor and her dedication to public service.”