ALBANY – New York State Senate Minority Leader John Flanagan (R-Long Island) announced Friday his intention to take a leave of absence in order to help overcome his battle with an alcohol addiction.
In a statement, the Long Island Republican said he recognized the “need to seek some additional help to overcome my battle with alcohol dependency”.
According to Flanagan, he will likely miss the beginning of this year’s legislative session. In his absence, Sen. Joseph Griffo (R-Rome) will oversee operations.
Flanagan has served in Albany for 33 years. He was first elected in the Assembly, then the Senate and then served as Majority Leader when the Republicans had control. He currently serves the 2nd District of New York State, which includes portions of Suffolk County.
The announcement comes after Flanagan was already selected to lead the now-minority party in the Senate, despite being challenged by local Senator Catherine Young (R-Olean).
Sen. Young challenged Flanagan for his position at the helm of the conference, but lost by a 14-9 vote.
As a result of his maintaining the leadership role for his party in the Senate, Flanagen awarded three top leadership posts to upstate Republicans who backed his bid to continue leading the conference.
Griffo, of Rome, was chosen as deputy minority leader.
Meanwhile, Sen. James Seward (R-Milford) will serve as ranking member of the Senate finance committee – replacing Young in that position.
And Sen. Fred Akshar will replace Young as head of the Senate Republican Campaign Committee.
The Senate Republicans lost eight seats in November’s election, landing them in the minority.