From the Morning Memo:

When it came time to decide who would be the new Assembly majority leader, Speaker Carl Heastie said he contemplated plenty of candidates.

Ultimately, he went with his “gut” in selecting Assemblywoman Crystal People’s-Stokes, a Buffalo Democrat, as his second in command. Heastie, during an interview this week on The Capitol Pressroom, said the long-time legislator felt like the right choice.

“Not only has she done extraordinary legislative work, but Crystal and I have been friends since before I was elected to the Assembly, when I first met her back in Buffalo when she was in the county legislature. So we have a very long relationship. It was a tough decision because, like I said, there are many colleagues who would do a fabulous job in this position. You know, but it is difficult sometimes when you gotta pick the best of the best,” he said.

Heastie said he was not asking anybody to be former Majority Leader Joe Morelle, who is now in Congress. However, Peoples-Stokes will have to take on the role of chief advisor and member liaison to the speaker.

“Members go to the majority leader a lot of times before they even come to me on their legislation or things that they want and need. It’s member management, deciding how the calendar works. So it is a tremendous responsibility and as I’ve said I’ve now brought the majority leader in to discuss and make policy decisions and even when we have budget negotiations I have the majority leader right there. And this should be no different with Crystal as well,” Heastie said.

While the role of majority leader has traditionally gone to a member from Upstate, the speaker insisted every part of New York is important to him regardless of his choice. Still, he admitted there is an added benefit that Peoples-Stokes is from Buffalo.

He said he hopes it gives constituents “north of Westchester” confidence the Assembly is not just focusing on New York City and Long Island.