Stony Brook graduates are making an impact in the New York State Assembly.
The recently-elected speaker of the Assembly, Carl Heastie, is a Stony Brook alum, along with three other Assembly members: Steve Englebright, Kimberly Jean-Pierre and Latoya Joyner.
Heastie became speaker of the Assembly after former Speaker Sheldon Silver was arrested on federal corruption charges.
A former budget analyst for the New York City Comptroller’s Office, Heastie is New York’s first African-American Assembly speaker.
At Stony Brook, Heastie earned a Bachelor of Science in applied mathematics and statistics in 1990. He later earned a Master’s of Business Administration in finance from the Bernard M. Baruch College in 2007.
In 2000, Heastie was first elected into the Assembly to represent the 83rd District of New York. He is a member of the Democratic Party.
His legislative record includes nine bills in three years, including actions to raise penalties for wage theft, increase minimum wage and the addition of light green taxis for the outer boroughs of New York.
“I’m so very pleased that Carl Heastie is the new speaker,” Englebright said.
In 1974, Englebright received a Master of Science degree in paleontology/sedimentology from Stony Brook that helped his career in the Assembly.
“What we do everyday at the Assembly is try to solve problems, and that’s what we did everyday at the State University of New York at Stony Brook,” Englebright said.
Englebright is a member of the Democratic Party and represents the 4th Assembly District.
Towards beginning of his career, Englebright was elected into the Suffolk County Legislature in 1983 and the New York State Assembly in 1992.
In February, following the election of Heastie, Englebright was appointed chairman of the Environmental Conservation Committee.
During the 90s, Englebright authored New York’s laws on solar and wind net-metering, a system where excess power from renewable energy generators is transferred onto the grid and the owners are compensated. In 2008, he pressed for the expansion of solar net-metering to include all utility customer classes.
“I’ve wrote and passed a number of laws that set the stage for the solar energy and wind energy, the renewable energy revolution that the state is now going through,” Englebright said.
In the future, Englebright hopes to address more environmental issues.
“I’m honored that Carl Heastie has appointed me to chair of the environmental conservation committee, and that committee will be a forum for taking on some of the major environmental challenges that we have at this time including a climate change strategy to deal will climate change is effecting our state,” he said.
Assemblywoman Kimberly Jean-Pierre was also excited for Heastie’s latest accomplishment.
“It was not only an important time in the Assembly but also a historic moment in New York State’s history as we elected the first black speaker which was truly remarkable,” she said.
Jean-Pierre earned her Master’s of Science in public policy from Stony Brook in 2007.
She has represented the 11th Assembly District since 2014, and she is a member of the Democratic Party.
“With just two months in office, I have met with various groups on education to issues concerning quality of life,” she said.
Before Jean-Pierre was elected into the New York State Assembly, she was a legislative aid for DuWayne Gregory of the Suffolk County Legislature. After two years working as an aid, she moved on to being a community outreach coordinator for U.S. Rep. Steve Israel.
In 2013, Jean-Pierre became vice president of properties at the Town of Babylon’s Industrial Development Agency (IDA). With the IDA, Jean-Pierre worked alongside the Babylon community to coordinate resources for residents.
“I never thought of running,” Jean-Pierre said. “I enjoy being the hands-on employee but also understand that we need leadership that understands the concerns and the needs of the district.”
Jean-Pierre currently sits on the Economic Development Committee, Mental Health Committee, Local Government Committee, Transportation Committee and Banks Committee. She is also part of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus.
Assemblywoman Latoya Joyner graduated from Stony Brook with honors and a bachelor’s degree in political science and sociology. She also participated in Stony Brook’s Educational Opportunity Program.
Joyner is a member of the Democratic Party and represents the 77th Assembly District. She was first elected into office in 2014.
Joyner interned with the office of then-state Assemblywoman Aurelia Greene and was eventually promoted to community liaison in
Greene’s district office.
After Joyner’s internship she went on to attend the University of Buffalo Law School. Joyner interned with the New York State Division of Human Rights in the Bronx during her time at Buffalo.
Prior to being elected into the Assembly, Joyner served as a court attorney for a New York City Civil Court judge.
Joyner currently serves on the Aging, Consumer Affairs and Protection, Housing, Insurance and Social Services Committees.
Most recently Joyner introduced legislation that will work to end income-based tenant discrimination in New York.