ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Carl Heastie (D-Bronx), the new speaker of the New York State Assembly, said Thursday that raising the minimum wage, expanding higher education access and protecting New York City’s rent rules have emerged as his priorities as he settles into his position.

Heastie told the Associated Press Thursday that ethics reform is another goal of the Assembly’s Democratic majority. Heastie was elected earlier this month to succeed longtime Speaker Sheldon Silver after Silver was accused of taking kickbacks and payoffs.

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Heastie said his interest in boosting the minimum wage while making housing and education affordable reflect a Democratic consensus.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s call to overhaul teacher evaluation and tenure rules is unpopular with many Assembly Democrats.

Heastie said Cuomo’s proposals are the subject of ongoing discussion and that his relations with Cuomo are productive.

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Heastie was first elected in 2000 and has led the Assembly’s Labor Committee for the past two years. He is a former budget analyst in the New York City Comptroller’s Office. He also led the Bronx Democratic County Committee before becoming speaker.

Silver led the Assembly for 21 years before his resignation. The Manhattan Democrat has said he expects to be exonerated and intends to keep his seat in the Assembly.

A grand jury returned an indictment against Silver on three charges Thursday.

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