One day in April, state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins set in motion a plan to change the lives of millions of people across New York state. To do this, she didn’t call the governor, or even the most senior members of her conference. Instead, she summoned first-term state Sen. Zellnor Myrie to her office on the third floor of the Capitol. The 32-year-old Brooklyn lawmaker was the final piece of the puzzle for Stewart-Cousins’ plan to advance a package of housing reforms through the labyrinthine corridors of power in state government. Rather than swearing Myrie to secrecy, she asked him to tell every Democratic senator that a newly formed legislative housing working group was going to craft the conference’s position on rent reforms – one of the most complicated and contentious issues the Democrats would face in 2019.
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