After flipping the New York Senate from red to blue last fall, Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins will lead her political party's effort to flip state legislatures across the country.
The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, the official Democratic organization dedicated to electing state legislators, announced on Wednesday, July 17 that Stewart-Cousins will lead the DLCC as it heads into the 2019-2020 election cycle.
In January, Stewart-Cousins, 68, of Yonkers became the first woman in New York's history to lead the Senate majority.
Securing control of other states' legislatures could prove a formidable challenge. That's because Republicans currently hold majorities in 30 of America's 48 partisan state legislatures, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The GOP also controls 61 of the nation's 98 "chambers" -- typically divided into senates and houses of representatives.
“Leader Stewart-Cousins has proven to be a trailblazing leader as the first woman to lead a legislative conference in New York and a fierce campaigner by flipping the New York Senate," said DLCC President Jessica Post.
"Stewart-Cousins will help us blaze a new blue trail across the country as Democrats fight to flip state chambers blue,” Post said. “With redistricting and the very future of our democracy on the line, the stakes could not be higher — and with Stewart-Cousins as chair, we’ll be ready to meet the challenge.”
Last year, with support from the DLCC, Stewart-Cousins helped Democrats wrest control of the New York State Senate from the GOP, while winning the largest Democratic majority in the chamber’s history.
“State legislatures are the last line of defense for Americans against the Trump Administration," Stewart-Cousins said. "In just the past few months, New York has seen historic progressive change, and that was only possible because we won control of the State Senate and finally turned our state ‘true blue'."
Stewart-Cousins, who has served on the DLCC’s board since 2017, follows outgoing Chair Tina Kotek, speaker of the Oregon House, who presided over two years of committee growth. Kotek led the committee’s board as the organization doubled its fundraising from $17 million to $36 million, expanded staff -- and flipped eight state chambers blue.
“With Chairwoman Stewart-Cousins and President Jessica Post leading the DLCC, Democrats can be sure we’re going to continue flipping state legislatures across the country," Kotek said.
The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee just reported its largest off-year fundraising quarter in the committee’s history and is on track to raise $50 million this election cycle. This November, Democrats are working to flip Virginia’s General Assembly, hold New Jersey’s supermajority, preserve the governor’s veto power in Louisiana and break the Republican supermajority in Mississippi.
New York Democrats held 40 of the 63 seats in the state Senate chamber this past session, giving the party majority voting control of the legislative branch for the first time in decades.
Stewart-Cousins, partnering with Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, a Bronx Democrat, oversaw a Democratic-led legislature that flexed its progressive muscles in 2019 by passing a slate of bills that strengthened sexual harassment laws, reformed rent regulations in tenants’ favor and addressed climate change and criminal justice reform.
“Together, with my colleagues on the DLCC Board of Directors, I look forward to helping more states elect Democratic majorities that will stand up to Donald Trump and protect our rights and values," Stewart-Cousins said.