Three women Democrats in the New York State Senate, and a fourth woman hoping to win a Long Island seat, have won the backing of Emily’s List, a powerful, Washington, D.C-based organization focused on putting pro-choice females into state and federal offices.
In a Monday conference call, the political action committee announced it is throwing its support behind Senators Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Cecilia Tkacyzk, and Toby Ann Stavisky, and candidate Adrienne Esposito, an environmentalist from Suffolk County who is seeking a vacant seat, in the upcoming elections.
The support of Emily’s List gives the four women access to the group’s national network and its supporters deep pockets.
“Emily’s List is a network of now over three million women and men across the nation who really feel strongly that our governing tables need to look like our nation,” said President Stephanie Schriock. “These candidates will have access to that growing network."
“We will also be providing direct support, financial and otherwise, to the candidates running," said Schriock. She said the group wants a progressive majority in state government. A spokeswoman for the group did not specify how much the candidates will get in aid.
The group’s support could also help the Senate Democrats shore up the numbers they need to win back control of the chamber. Stewart-Cousins, a party leader, acknowledged that while the Democrats are a majority, the party has not been able to flex its political muscle because five Democrats jumped ship and joined the Republican conference.
“The Republicans were still allowed, despite us having a majority of Democrats in the chamber, to get a majority situation," said Stewart-Cousins. "And that really thwarted so much of the progressive pro-women, pro-family legislation that we could have gotten down."
That includes minimum wage legislation, which she said directly impacts women.
There are 63 Senate seats and 32 are needed to win the majority. The five Democrats are expected to rejoin the main Democratic conference after the November elections. Schriock also said the group wants to see Stewart-Cousins, who participated in the press conference, make history as the first majority leader of the senate. The Senate majority currently has two co-leaders — independent Democrat Jeff Klein and Republican Dean Skelos.