Her name is Crystal, and she shattered a glass ceiling.
Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes, a Buffalo Democrat, has been named majority leader by Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. She will be the first woman — and the first African-American — to serve in that role.
"Throughout my career I have fought so that everyone — regardless of zip code, school district, race or background — has access to the tools and opportunities they need to succeed," Peoples-Stokes said in a statement. "I look forward to using my new role as majority leader to continue fighting for New York's families."
Heastie announced the appointment Monday. Peoples-Stokes, a former Erie County legislator who was elected to the state Assembly in 2002, succeeds former Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle, a Rochester-area Democrat.
Morelle won the 25th Congressional District race to fill the seat left vacant after former U.S. Rep. Louise Slaughter's death.
With Morelle's departure, the No. 2 spot in the Assembly was available. Peoples-Stokes campaigned for the position, and her efforts were successful. Her appointment ensures an upstate legislator will remain in that post.
"Crystal is a trusted colleague who I have known for many years, and her experience and dedication to improving the lives of all New Yorkers is why I know she will make an ideal partner in leading the Assembly majority," Heastie said.
As majority leader, Peoples-Stokes will oversee day-to-day operations of the Assembly. Her main responsibility will be managing floor debates.
Prior to the appointment, she chaired the Assembly Governmental Operations Committee. Last year, she was elected chair of the New York State Legislative Women's Caucus, a group of bipartisan women lawmakers.