Public Servant of the Year: The Honorable Carl Heastie
Speaker of the New York State Assembly
Carl E. Heastie is the first African American to serve as Speaker of the New York State Assembly, elected by his Assembly colleagues on February 3, 2015.
In his first budget as Speaker, he worked closely with members of the Assembly Majority to develop a financial plan that made an historic $1.8 billion investment in the education of our students, addressed the homelessness crisis facing our communities and gave working families the resources they need to achieve financial independence. Speaker Heastie is committed to fighting for the reforms and investments that will strengthen our families and uplift all New Yorkers.
Speaker Heastie represents the 83rd A.D. in the northeast Bronx and was first elected to the Assembly in 2000. As a member of the Assembly, he has been one of the leading advocates for the construction of new schools and his vigilance has led to the development of several new schools in his district. In addition, he has secured significant funding for housing, education, after school programming, health and human services, jobs readiness and computer training for constituents.
Amongst his many legislative achievements, Speaker Heastie was a principal negotiator in securing an increase in the minimum wage that took effect January 1, 2014. He was also successful in negotiating increases in unemployment insurance benefits, which had been stagnant since 1998. He was the prime sponsor of the Wage Theft Prevention Act which provided stiffer penalties for employers that steal wages from employees.
Speaker Heastie scored a victory for public health when he championed the passage of a law that prohibited the sale of water containing nicotine to children under 18 years old. He also authored a law to help victims of domestic violence by releasing them from lease obligations if it is found that remaining in the residence would keep the victim in a dangerous environment.
Prior to joining the Assembly, Speaker Heastie served as a budget analyst in the New York City Comptroller’s office where he researched, prepared and authored reports on the City’s spending patterns. He earned a master’s degree in business administration with a concentration in Finance from Bernard M. Baruch College (CUNY) and a bachelor’s degree in Applied Mathematics and Statistics from Stony Brook University (SUNY).