Brian M. Kolb, R-Victor, is stepping down as state Assembly minority leader, following his arrest New Year’s Eve on a charge of driving while impaired.
“I will not allow my own personal challenges to distract from the goals, message, and mission of the Assembly Minority Conference. With a new year and new legislative session ahead, the work of our conference cannot be undermined or deterred in any way,” Kolb said in a statement released Friday. He has been the minority leader since 2009.
He steps down at a time when several fellow veteran Republican legislative members from the Upstate area have resigned or announced they will not run for re-election, citing the difficulty of doing business in a Democrat-dominated legislature.
Kolb, driving a state-owned SUV, crashed his vehicle in a ditch in Victor near his house about 10:30 p.m. on Dec. 31. He cooperated with the Ontario County sheriff’s deputies investigating the crash. The next day he issued a public apology for the incident.
On Friday, he said, “The events of December 31 are ones I will always deeply regret. 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 had, ironically, recently urged constituents to be careful not to engage in drunk driving on the holiday. On Dec. 27 his weekly email said, “For those celebrating the holiday by gathering with family and friends, please do so safely. With the numerous ride-sharing apps available, as well as public transportation, drinking and driving simply isn’t an option. Think about the safety of yourself and others around you.”
He had also devoted his entire Dec. 20 email to the subject as part of National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month, which is in December.
The incident garnered news coverage from outlets including the “New York Post” and “The Washington Post.” It also elicited calls for his resignation as an Assembly leader from some fellow Republicans.
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