Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins Opening Remarks

January 06, 2016

(Albany - January 6th) Today, Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins urged meaningful ethics reforms and outlined priorities including education, infrastructure repairs and raising the minimum wage. You can listen to her remarks at the link provided or read the prepared remarks below.

“Thank you Mr. President and thank you to all my colleagues.

I want to take a moment and welcome the newest Democratic member Roxanne Persaud ! I would also like to recognize Senator Ashkar and welcome him to this fine institution. Also I would like to congratulate Senator DeFransisco on his elevation to Deputy Leader. And to Governor Cuomo we look forward to working with him and look forward to his address next week.

Senator Flanagan and Senator Klein, the Democratic Conference stands ready to work with you. Now is the time for us to come together.

A New Year and a new session should serve as a restart button and a time to refresh our commitment to this great state.

Last year was certainly an interesting year. A year that unfortunately was once again filled with scandal. A year that should make all honest elected officials angry!

The people of the state are looking at us to take some concrete action. Let’s not bury our heads in the sand and act like nothing is wrong.

Now is a time for us to get serious. Now is the time for a major re-haul of our outdated ethics laws. Let’s finally make Albany an example of good government.

*Let’s restrict outside income-we are here to serve the public! Let’s do that!

*Let’s stop campaigns funds from being used on lawyers and as personal ATM’s.

*Let’s close the outrageous LLC loophole.

*Let’s change our campaign finance system.

*Let’s move on ethics right away and show the people of New York we are about doing their business and deserving of their trust.

And of course there are other issues the people of New York demand that we address.

*We must continue to build our economy and create more jobs.

*We must combat the growing income inequality and one way to do that is enact a real raise to the minimum wage with indexing and help lift over 1 million New Yorkers out of bone crushing poverty. I am glad that the Governor has joined this fight!

*We must stand up for the health and equality of the women of New York. Let’s pass a real- not watered down-Women’s Equality Act.

*We have to help those struggling with addiction including the horrible heroin scourge that is devastating communities across this state.

*We must make sure all New York children have access to the quality education they deserve and that all our children have access to affordable quality higher education.

*We must make sure that everyone has a roof over their head and place to call home.

*Let’s invest in our crumbling infrastructure by rebuilding our roads, bridges and schools across New York and truly make New York the Empire State.

Senator Flanagan, the Democratic Conference stands ready to work with you on all these issues. Together we must will give all New Yorkers the responsible and productive government they deserve. The Democratic Conference stands ready to work with all Senators, regardless of party affiliation, so let’s get to work.

Happy New Year - Let's get to work!