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It's Official: Heastie New Assembly Speaker, Silver Out

The New York state Assembly has elected Bronx Assemblyman Carl Heastie as its speaker, making him the first African-American to lead the body.

The Assembly chose the Democrat on Tuesday. He succeeds longtime Speaker Sheldon Silver, who resigned in the face of federal corruption charges. The 47-year-old Heastie is a former budget analyst in the New York City Comptroller's office. He was first elected in 2000 and has chaired the Assembly's Labor Committee for the past two years.

Heastie has vowed to pursue ethics reforms to tighten the rules on legislators' outside incomes.

That's a central issue in the case against Silver, who is charged with taking nearly $4 million in kickbacks and payoffs. Silver says he expects to be exonerated and is keeping his Assembly seat.

“Our state is facing great opportunities and challenges in the year ahead, and New Yorkers need strong leaders," Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, a former Assemblyman, said. "I served with Carl Heastie and know that he accepts his new role with humility and understands the need to get back to work. My office is prepared to help him through this transition and to make government more accountable and transparent.”

Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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