Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins of Yonkers is the new minority leader of New York's state Senate.
She replaces Sen. John Sampson of Brooklyn. He took over the fractured conference following a gridlocking coup staged by Republicans and a few dissident Democrats in 2009.
She may be the first woman chosen for a top conference post in Albany.
Stewart-Cousins takes the leadership Monday at a time when a bipartisan majority will rule the Senate. Thirty-one Republicans and Democratic Sen. Simcha Felder of Brooklyn, who is siding with the GOP, have allied with five members of the Independent Democratic Conference.
The IDC broke from the Democratic conference in 2010 after two years of chaotic rule by Democrats.
Stewart-Cousins has been in the Senate since 2007 and is widely respected by Democrats and Republicans.