This month in Albany two new Democrats took seats in the Legislature after winning special elections in the Senate and Assembly. Their victories mean different things for their chambers, but the message the new lawmakers bring to Albany is the same.

“Progressive agendas are winning in the United States,” said Christine Pellegrino, a Democrat elected to the Assembly in Suffolk County. “Clearly, this win was a victory for issues and a victory for labor.”

Pellegrino won an upset victory last month in a heavily Republican district that voted for President Donald Trump. She received an infusion of support from the state’s teachers union, but credits her victory with raising issues that voters in both parties care about.

“It’s clearly an example of when you talk to voters about issues they care about, you cross party lines on issues like education and funding,” Pellegrino said.

In the Senate, Democrat Brian Benjamin won a heavily Democratic seat in Harlem. But his election is key because he is now the thirty-second enrolled Democrat in the chamber, giving the party a numerical majority again.

“The people of this state have spoken,” Benjamin said. “The people of this state have said we are electing 32 Democrats and we expect you, because we elected you as Democrats, to fight for the issues that Democrats are known to be fighting for.”

Only it’s not so simple with the Senate, under the control of Republicans thanks to their alliance with Democratic Senator Simcha Felder. Since Benjamin’s election, liberal groups have sought to pressure the eight-member Independent Democratic Conference to rejoin the mainline fold. And Democrats hope to convince Gov. Andrew Cuomo to push the IDC toward reconciliation as well.

“Everybody is understanding that we are stronger together and I’m sure the governor knows that too,” said Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.

Cuomo last year did endorse and provide contributions for several Democrats running in key races. However, he also told Senate Republicans earlier this year he could have worked harder on behalf of his own party, but didn’t.