Vetting: Andrea Stewart-Cousins

Ebony Edwards-Ellis
5 min readAug 11, 2021

Now that Andrew Cuomo has resigned, New York State’s Senate Majority Leader will temporarily serve as Lt. Governor.

New York State Senate Majority Leader (and soon-to-be Lt. Governor of New York) Andrea Stewart-Cousins

Yesterday afternoon, Andrew Cuomo announced that he will be resigning his position as New York State governor. When the resignation becomes effective, Cuomo’s Lieutenant Governor, Kathleen “Kathy” Hochul, will become the Empire State’s first woman governor. Hochul’s current position will be filled (temporarily at least) by the New York State Senate Majority Leader, Andrea Stewart-Cousins. That said, who is Andrea Stewart-Cousins?

Stewart-Cousins was born in New York City in 1950. After becoming a single mother at age nineteen, Stewart-Cousins took a job with New York Telephone. It was around this time that Stewart-Cousins made her first foray into political activities. Stewart-Cousins, who was needed childcare subsidies so that she could work to support her eldest son, joined a protest to stop city government from yanking the funds. The protest was not successful and Stewart-Cousins relied on her mother to do childcare while she worked.

Stewart-Cousins stayed with New York Telephone for thirteen years, working in sales and marketing. When New York Telephone was reorganized as NYNEX, Stewart-Cousins took a buyout in order to attend college and study journalism. She eventually earned a BS from Pace University. She wrote for The Herald Statesman for awhile. Stewart-Cousins then focused on a second degree, this time in education, while working in Human Resources at Careerblazers. After getting her teaching certification, Stewart-Cousins briefly taught Engligh at Lincoln High School.

It was then that Stewart-Cousins worked on the campaign of Symra Brandon, a friend of hers who was seeking to become the first Black woman elected to the Yonkers City Council.

Brandon was ultimately successful in her bid. She then suggested that the newly elected mayor appoint Stewart-Cousins as the Director Of Community Affairs. Stewart-Cousins accepted the job, creating (along with others) Yonkers Riverfest, a music and arts festival, and Art on Main Street. Stewart-Cousins remained in the post for four years, ultimately leaving to run for the Westchester County Board of Legislators, a three hundred year old legislative body which “ appropriat[es] funds, approv[es] the budget…

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Ebony Edwards-Ellis

Author of "Former First Lady" and "Memoir of a Royal Consort." Twitter provocateur, aspiring shut-in, and newly minted Roosevelt Islander.