ALBANY (TNS) — Former Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb, who stepped down from his leadership position last month after a drunken driving arrest on New Year’s Eve, will not seek re-election, he announced Thursday.
“I know that there are other avenues for me to pursue, future work to be done, and I have every intention of being an active member of the community and state that I love,” Kolb, 67, said in a statement. “It has been a tremendous privilege, both personally and professionally, to have served the people of the Finger Lakes region for the past two decades.
“I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt there is no higher honor than to have had the support of the men, women and families who call this area home.”
The former minority leader allegedly had a blood-alcohol level of about twice the legal limit on Dec. 31 when he crashed his state-issued car into a ditch near his home in Ontario County. The AAA operator who responded to tow Kolb’s damaged SUV called police after noting that the vehicle was wedged against a utility pole.
“The events of Dec. 31 are ones I will always deeply regret,” Kolb said in a statement Jan. 3 while announcing that he would relinquish his leadership role. “On a personal level, I have begun the process of seeking professional help in order to heal, learn and fully address the challenges that I, along with my family, currently face.”
Kolb was elected to the Assembly in 2000 and had been minority leader for the past decade, which had made him the longest-serving legislative leader before he stepped aside from the position.
Assembly Republicans subsequently elected Assemblyman Will Barclay, R-Pulaski, as their new conference leader after Kolb stepped down. On Thursday, Barclay called Kolb’s decision not to seek re-election “disappointing,” but said he would “always appreciate his service to the people of the Finger Lakes and his unwavering commitment to the Assembly Minority Conference.”
“It is a true testament to his abilities and leadership that he was overwhelmingly re-elected nine times by the people of his district, and that he was chosen as leader of our conference for 10 years,” Barclay said in a statement. “No one was more dedicated to our cause and our goals.”