Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes will be “a champion” for upstate New York as the new majority leader in the chamber, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a phone interview on Monday.

Peoples-Stokes, a Buffalo lawmaker, was appointed the majority leader in the Assembly by Speaker Carl Heastie, making her the second-ranking elected official in the chamber and the leader of the Democratic conference’s floor operations.

Hochul, a fellow western New York, has known Peoples-Stokes since they were both local-government officials. Hochul recalled her as “an aggressive county legislator who fought tirelessly for her district.”

“She is really a champion for upstate New York and particularly Buffalo,” Hochul said. “You will not find a tougher fighter for upstate than Crystal Peoples-Stokes.”

And Hochul noted Peoples-Stokes backed her in her primary this year to keep her post as lieutenant governor. Hochul faced primaries in both 2012 and 2018, this year against Brooklyn Councilman Jumaane Williams.

“When I was running for lieutenant governor and we had a primary, she was one of the first elected officials to stand up for me and gather other elected officials and say we have to stand with Kathy,” Hochul said.

Peoples-Stokes is the first woman to hold the job, while next year Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins will be the first woman to lead a legislative conference in Albany.

But Hochul noted Peoples-Stokes as been here before.

“I saw her in action as the majority leader of the Erie County Legislature,” Hochul said, “and she was a masterful leader.”