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Commencement Profile: Crystal Davis Peoples-Stokes

Posted: May 9, 2012

As a New York State assemblywoman, Crystal Davis Peoples-Stokes, '74, '02, represents the 141st District, which includes part of the city of Buffalo in Erie County.

Peoples-Stokes will receive the Distinguished Alumnus Award  and will deliver the Commencement Address during the 6:00 p.m. master’s hooding and C.A.S. ceremony at Buffalo State's 140th Commencement, Saturday, May 12, in the Sports Arena.

Peoples-Stokes serves as chair of the subcommittee on Oversight of Minorityand Women-Owned Business Enterprises and as a member of the Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, Environmental Conservation, Governmental Operations, Health, Higher Education, and Insurance committees. She also serves on the New York State Legislative Women’s Caucus; the Black, Puerto Rican and Asian Legislative Caucus; the Eleanor Roosevelt Legacy Committee’s Board of Directors; and the New York State Commission on Higher Education.

In April 2011, she introduced a bill to establish a rational tuition policy for SUNY that would allow for increases not to exceed 5.5 percent annually and to be used solely by SUNY, not for other state budgetary items. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed the legislation in August.

Before her election to the Assembly, Peoples-Stokes worked as an educator, a Congressional Budget Office administrator, and a community organizer. She also represented Erie County’s 7th District as a county legislator from 1993 to 2002. For five of those years, she served as majority leader and chair of the Finance, Management and Budget Committee. Peoples-Stokes worked diligently to maintain Erie County’s only public hospital, and she authored legislation that generates millions of dollars in revenue annually for minority- and women-owned businesses by giving them access to county contracts.

Peoples-Stokes sponsored public education campaigns addressing social ills, housing, and economic development, and she played an integral role in the intergovernmental economic development collaboration that brought a fresh meat and produce market to an area sorely lacking in such businesses. She also successfully sponsored legislation that allows Erie County homeowners to make partial payments on back taxes.

As a staunch believer in the necessity of quality primary health care, she fought for Health Care Efficiency and Affordability Law (HEAL)-NY funding to support the building of a new home for the Community Health Center of Buffalo and a new dental clinic at Sheehan Health Network. She also played an integral role in securing another HEAL-NY grant that will be used to support the launch of the University at Buffalo’s Institute for Healthcare Informatics, in association with Sheehan Health Network, Erie County Medical Center, and other local health-care systems.

Peoples-Stokes earned her bachelor of science degree in elementary education in 1974 and her master’s degree in student personnel administration in 2002 from Buffalo State. Since graduating, she has been named to the advisory board of the Buffalo State Criminal Justice Department’s Center for Justice and Applied Public Policy, and she served as a keynote speaker for the 2003 Educational Opportunity Program’s Honors Convocation.


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