EOP 50th Anniversary Celebration
Carl Heastie

Carl Heastie

Carl Heastie bio photoCarl 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.

Upon election as Speaker, Heastie announced the Higher Education Road to Success initiative which would increase funding for Opportunity Programs, enhance community college base aid and bolster outreach programs. More recently he led the fight to preserve affordability of higher education by freezing tuition costs at CUNY and SUNY schools as well as restoring significant funding cuts to the CUNY system.

Since taking the role of leading the Assembly, Speaker Heastie has remained committed to passing budgets that prioritize the needs of hardworking New York families. Under his leadership, the Assembly has passed “Families First” focused budgets that made strategic investments in the health, safety, economic success and social well-being of New York families.

Speaker Heastie worked closely with members of the Assembly Majority to develop a financial plan that made a historic $1.6 billion investment in education in 2015. A similar investment was made the following year. This included funding for community schools, which take a holistic approach to educating students by acting as community hubs offering wrap around services including critical academic, health, mental health, social services and afterschool programs to students and their families. An additional $20 million was earmarked for My Brother’s Keeper, making New York the first state in the nation to commit to President Obama’s initiative aimed at improving outcomes for boys and young men of color.

Speaker Heastie is dedicated to fighting for workplace reforms and investments that will uplift all New Yorkers and put families first. In 2014, he was the principal negotiator in securing an increase in the minimum wage to a level that put our families on a path to success, not poverty. In 2016, he led the Assembly Majority which delivered another schedule of meaningful increases in the minimum wage across the state. He also fought to provide family friendly protections that enable workers to take care of what matters most without jeopardizing their livelihoods. This resulted in paid family leave protections for all workers. He was 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.

As Speaker, Heastie has also prioritized passing meaningful legislation designed to ensure New York families have access to quality, affordable child care. Under his leadership, the Assembly has passed measures to increase access to information about relevant child care service providers’ qualifications, allowing parents to put their families first. The body has also passed legislation to promote high quality early childhood programs across the state by codifying existing federal law and encouraging private partnerships to expand opportunities for New York families.

Additionally, Speaker Heastie and the Assembly Majority delivered important tax cuts that will help working families access and remain in the middle class. Under his leadership, one of the largest multi-year investments in affordable housing was secured to stem the flow of families into homelessness and assist those who are struggling to regain their footing.

Heastie represents the 83rd A.D. in the northeast Bronx and was first elected to the Assembly in 2000. Prior to ascending to Assembly Speaker, he 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. He has been one of the leading advocates for the construction of new schools and his vigilance led to the development of several new schools in his district. In addition, he secured significant funding for housing, education, after school programming, health and human services, jobs readiness and computer training for constituents. In 2016, he worked with community leaders to secure funding for a state-of-the-art community center in his district. The 50,000 square foot YMCA in Edenwald will offer everyone from children to seniors a recreational outlet that encourages physical fitness and a stronger sense of community.

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).