WHITE PLAINS, NY -- As part of its annual Black History & Heritage Celebration, which was held last night, the Westchester County Board of Legislators (BOL) honored a former member—New York State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins—for her many achievements and recent election as Democratic Conference Leader, the first woman in New York state history to hold this important political position.
In his remarks during the celebration, which took place before the BOL’s regular meeting in the Chamber, BOL Chairman Ken Jenkins (D-Yonkers) called Stewart-Cousins “an African American whose public service, dedication and compassion serve as superb examples for all Americans.” He added that the state senator has been “a major influence on my career in public service,” and as the new Democratic Conference Leader in the New York State Senate she will “build the kind of bridges in state government over which progress and reform will travel.”
Before her election to the State Senate in 2006, Stewart-Cousin served ten years in the BOL, representing the 17th legislative district in Yonkers, which Jenkins now represents.
BOL Vice Chair Lyndon Williams (D-Mount Vernon) quoted James Weldon Johnson’s poem “Lift Every Voice and Sing” (set to music by Johnson’s brother, it is also known as “The African-American National Anthem”) and referenced Stewart-Cousins’ new position in the State Senate with one line from the poem, “…till now we stand at last / Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.”
Legislator Alfreda Williams (D-Greenburgh) presented a proclamation to Stewart-Cousins and noted that the state senator is recognized as a strong advocate for human rights, quality education, affordable health care and making government more efficient.
“For a decade Senator Stewart-Cousins served here on the County Board of Legislators where she was elected Majority Whip and later Vice Chair,” continued Legislator Williams. “She authored and pushed for approval landmark legislation like Westchester’s first human rights law, plus laws guaranteeing living wages and smoke-free workplaces, protecting residents against predatory lenders and providing tax cuts for seniors and veterans. We are proud of her. And we are in awe of her many deeds. She is a wonderful example to us all here on this Board.”