founding member of The Heastie Boys, is suddenly one of the most powerful men in New York State. The 47-year-old Bronx Assemblyman was hand-picked by Democratic power brokers to be the first African-American speaker of the state Assembly in the wake of longtime speaker Sheldon Silver's decision to "step back." The back-room selection process for Heastie was described by the Times as "secretive and sleazy," and now the four or five New Yorkers who half-heartedly pay attention to Albany are probably wondering who this guy is. Below, all the Heastie's trivia your head can check:
- It's pronounced "Hasty."
- He's the first Assembly speaker from the Bronx.
- He was elected to the Assembly in 2000.
- He's an accountant.
- He became Bronx Democratic leader in 2008 after a contentious battle to overthrow Assemblyman José Rivera.
- After ousting Rivera and his cronies, Heastie was cool about it. "He didn’t take the attitude that everybody on the other side should be beheaded," Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz told the Times. But what's Albany without beheadings???
- He's very reserved; one political columnist had a hard time deciding whether to nickname him "Buddha" or "The Silent One."
- He says his favorite term is "no comment."
- In 1997 his mother Helene Heastie, a nurse, admitted to stealing almost $200,000 from a publicly funded social services agency where she worked. She died a year later.
- His father was a cab driver.
- He's unmarried and has a five-year-old daughter.
- He's a moderate Democrat functionary who hasn't spearheaded all that much legislation during his 15 years in Albany. He sponsored a bill requiring mandatory reporting of alleged child abuse of students in NYC, sponsored legislation to expand street-hail taxi service beyond Manhattan, and passed legislation to raise the minimum wage.
- Like Silver, he was one of the state lawmakers who caught the eye of the Moreland Commission, which subpoenaed his campaign's bank account to examine some $25,000 in campaign expenses that weren't detailed in campaign-finance reports. Or was it $60,000?
- Governor Cuomo disbanded the Moreland Commission before it had a chance to probe anyone any further. Heastie was never officially under investigation.
- Unlike his predecessor, Heastie appears open to mixed-martial arts, or "ultimate fighting."
- He wants to give Assembly members a pay raise to “attract the best and the brightest minds in our state."
- In 2013 he introduced legislation that would have let check-cashing companies start offering infamous payday loans in New York State. The bill failed, but Heastie and other top lawmakers received donations from lobbyists for check-cashing stores.
- He says he won't take outside jobs while he's speaker, unlike SOME PEOPLE.
- He roots for the Yankees, the Cowboys, and the Celtics.
- He says he doesn't know much about upstate.
- He voted against same sex marriage in 2007 but voted for it in 2011.
- He helped pass legislation to toughen penalties against employers who cheat workers out of overtime pay and other compensation.
- He has "made public statements seemingly supporting the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision—he has insisted that campaign donations do not influence politicians."
- Over the past three years, almost 50 percent of the taxpayer money distributed by Heastie (some $383,000) went to organizations that contributed to his re-election efforts "or to programs whose project director donated to the assemblyman," a Capital analysis found.
- Mayor de Blasio backs him, but de Blasio also needs a strong ally in Albany to push through his agenda in NYC, so he doesn't have much choice anyway. And at least Heastie isn't from upstate.
- Heastie is promising "lasting reforms that will increase accountability and transparency."
- "I don't know what Carl believes," one Assemblymember told Gotham Gazette.
- And here he is in high school:
Carl Heastie, Harry S. Truman HS, c/o 1985 pic.twitter.com/DLcIbS7c3Z
— Conor Skelding (@conorskelding) January 30, 2015
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