Speaker Carl Heastie today appointed Assemblywoman Helene E. Weinstein (41st AD) to serve as chair of the Assembly Ways and Means Committee. In a historic step, Weinstein becomes the first woman to chair the committee.
"One of the longest serving members of the Assembly, Helene has made immeasurable contributions to the residents of New York State," said Heastie. "Her vast experience in the People's House and extensive knowledge of the state budget process will guide the Assembly Majority as we continue to pursue our Families First agenda."
"It is my privilege to accept the chairmanship of the Assembly Ways and Means Committee," said Assemblywoman Weinstein. "As the first woman to chair this committee I am humbled by the historic opportunity to lend new perspective and solutions to the needs facing our families and communities. I have always believed that diversity in leadership is critical to achieving a government that is both inclusive and responsive to today's challenges. Working together over the years, the Assembly has made tremendous strides in improving the quality of life and economic opportunities for all New Yorkers and I know that we have much more to do. I am proud that I have been chosen to succeed former Assemblyman Denny Farrell, a true legend who guided the Assembly Ways and Means Committee for many years with great skill. I want to thank Speaker Heastie for this honor and I look forward to working with all my Assembly colleagues and partners in government in this new role."
Weinstein, who represents the Sheepshead Bay, Midwood, Flatlands and East Flatbush communities in Brooklyn, was first elected to the Assembly in 1980. She is the first woman to chair the Assembly Judiciary Committee, a position she has held since 1994. As Judiciary chair, she has led efforts to protect victims of domestic violence, sponsored major reforms in the state's jury system and been a leading proponent of ensuring legal services for low income New Yorkers.
Over her tenure, she has authored hundreds of bills including measures to protect students, seniors, crime victims, public employees and veterans. She has focused efforts to improve the state's mortgage foreclosure process, to help families remain in their homes. She has worked with her colleagues to combat the rising problem of abandoned properties and resulting blight in our neighborhoods.
Weinstein currently sits on the Assembly Committees on Aging, Codes and Rules. She has been a member of the Ways and Means Committee since 1993. She previously served as the chair of the Assembly Committees on Governmental Employees and Election Law, as well as the Task Forces on Women's Issues and on Food, Farm and Nutrition. She also served as the chair of the Women's Legislative Caucus.
Weinstein earned a law degree from the New England School of Law and a bachelor's degree from American University.
The Ways and Means Committee's primary responsibility involves all matters pertaining to the adoption of a State Budget. In addition, the Committee has jurisdiction over all legislation introduced in the Assembly that would impact spending or revenues at the State or local level.