After more than a decade of service to the 83rd Assembly District in the Bronx, Assembly member Carl E. Heastie was elected speaker of the New York State Assembly earlier this month. He became the first African-American speaker of the New York State Assembly in history elected by his colleagues and also the first African-American speaker elected during Black History Month on a day when the Assembly passed a resolution honoring the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Heastie, who is 47-years-old, is now the 120th speaker of the New York State Assembly and the first from the Bronx. He was first elected in 2000 and has led the Assembly’s Labor Committee for the past two years. He is also a former budget analyst in the New York City Comptroller’s Office and will now leave his post as leader of the Bronx Democratic County Committee.

As the newly elected speaker, one of the most important positions in state government, Heastie promises to push the Democratic agenda, which includes raising the minimum wage and allowing children of illegal immigrants to receive college tuition aid.

Heastie looks forward to his new role but was still in awe and pure shock to learn that he won the vote. “For a Bronx boy who majored in applied math and statistics, this is one probability that I could never forecast,” he said.