Andrea Stewart-Cousins was born and raised in New York. She grew up in public housing in upper west side Manhattan and the Bronx. Her father was a WWII veteran who earned a bronze star and a Purple Heart while serving his country in a segregated Army and her mother was a civil servant for the City of New York.
Andrea Stewart-Cousins moved to Westchester in the 1980s, settling with her late husband and three children in Southwest Yonkers. She has lived there ever since.
In her early career, Andrea Stewart-Cousins worked as a journalist, a public-school teacher and for 13 years as a customer service and sales & marketing professional for New York Telephone/ AT&T. She entered government in 1992 when she was appointed by former Yonkers Mayor Terry Zaleski as the city’s Director of Community Affairs, the first African American woman to hold that position. While there, she helped create the Art on Main Street program and was a co-creator of Yonkers Riverfest, an annual city-wide festival that continues to this day. She also played a key role in the City’s proactive outreach efforts to all communities.
In 1996, Andrea Stewart-Cousins was elected to the Westchester County Board of Legislators where she served for a decade. While there, she created Westchester’s groundbreaking human rights laws and passed restrictions against smoking in the work place and tough safe storage requirements for gun owners. As the chair of the task force on women and families, she was a staunch advocate for day care, foster care and kinship care in Westchester. She eventually rose to the position of Vice Chair of the Board.
Senator Stewart-Cousins first ran for the State Senate in 2004. She lost that election by just 18 votes. Two years later, she ran again and won by over 1,800 votes. She has served in the State Senate since then.
In 2012, Senator Stewart-Cousins was elected by her Democratic colleagues to serve as the leader of the Senate Democratic Conference, the first woman in the history of New York to hold a legislative leadership position. If Democrats maintain the majority in this year’s November elections, Senator Stewart-Cousins will become New York State’s first ever woman Majority Leader which would place her at the forefront of the State’s efforts to fight back against the Trump administration and advance progressive legislation.
Some of the Senator’s legislative accomplishments include:
• Delivering record increases in State funding for public schools in her district
• Leading the fight to raise the minimum wage in New York State to $15/hr
• Passing the toughest gun control laws in the nation by providing the critical votes for the NY SAFE Act
• Cutting middle class income taxes to the lowest levels in over sixty years.
• Bringing the voices of women to the table on issues like pay equity, sexual harassment and reproductive choice
• Creating thousands of jobs in Westchester through the Regional Economic Development Councils.
• Combating climate change by supporting the state’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative
• Fighting for tough ethics reforms like prohibiting outside income for legislators, stripping corrupt elected officials of their pensions and closing campaign finance loopholes.
• Strengthening democracy by passing progressive voting laws and calling for campaign finance reform
• Raising the age of criminal responsibility from 16 to 18 and fighting for other reforms in the criminal justice system
• Ensuring access to quality affordable health care for all New Yorkers
Senator Stewart-Cousins earned her Bachelor of Science Degree from Pace University and her teaching credentials in Business Education from Lehman College while raising her children as an adult. In 2008, she earned her Master of Public Administration from Pace University and is a proud member of Pi Alpha Alpha – a Public Administration Honor Society.
She has three children and four grandchildren.