ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — The speaker of the New York Assembly has gone to Long Island to meet with the leaders of a gun violence reduction effort.

During a stop in Suffolk County Thursday, Bronx Democrat Carl Heastie also visited with an organization that helps former inmates build new lives once released from prison.

Heastie is spending much of the summer visiting different parts of the state. So far this year he's stopped by a summer program for children in the capital district, toured a state historic site in Columbia County and traveled to the North Country to visit areas impacted by last year's floods.

Heastie began his tradition of upstate trips shortly after becoming speaker in 2015. He says visiting local communities helps him better understand the challenges and opportunities facing different regions.