County Legislator Virginia Perez to challenge Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins

Posted: Updated:
YONKERS -

Westchester County Legislator Virginia Perez announced Friday that she is challenging powerful Democratic incumbent Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins for the 35th District state Senate seat.

Perez was surrounded by supporters outside a municipal housing building when she made the announcement. She is currently serving her fourth term as a county legislator and says she is taking on the Democratic establishment because it's time for a change.

"The political establishment asked me – actually told me – I not do this," she says. "If by challenging the status quo, challenging the establishment, means that I am committing political suicide, then so be it."

VIDEO: Interviews with state Sen. Stewart-Cousins, challenger

The Westchester Board of Elections confirms Perez submitted 1,052 valid signatures to get on the Sept. 13 primary ballot. She needed 1,000.

Stewart-Cousins was positioned to become majority leader following the general elections in November, but now has to face-off the unexpected primary challenge from Perez.

She acknowledged the work she's done on behalf of Westchester families while serving as a state senator, and says she has vowed to continue fighting for them.

"Clearly I’ve delivered immensely for the city of Yonkers, and I have the support of city officials – to say that – as well as all other parts of my district," says Stewart-Cousins. She is the leader of the Senate Democratic Conference in Albany and has held the seat since 2006.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."