ALBANY — The state Assembly’s longtime Republican minority leader announced Friday afternoon that he is stepping down from his leadership position in the wake of his arrest this week for driving while intoxicated. As a result, Republican Lawmakers will have to appoint a new leader when they caucus on Tuesday afternoon.
Assemblyman and former minority leader Brian Kolb was arrested by Ontario County sheriff’s deputies after he crashed his state-owned SUV in front of his residence on New Year’s Eve. His arrest came a week after he had published an op-ed in the Daily Messenger of Canandaigua urging motorists to avoid driving after drinking. Kolb was elected to the Assembly in 2000 and has been minority leader for the past decade.
Assemblyman Andrew Goodell (R-Ellicott, 150th District), who’s represented Chautauqua County since 2011 in the lower chamber, is currently serving as temporary leader of the Assembly’s GOP caucus because of his title as minority leader pro tempore. Despite starting the year as second in command for the Assembly Republicans, he told WRFA on Monday morning that he is not seeking the leadership position. Instead, he said the caucus will select Assemblyman William Barclay (R-Oswego, 120 District) as its new minority leader.
Barclay’s district includes Oswego and portions of Onondaga, Jefferson and Oswego counties. He was first elected to the Assembly in 2002 and is currently the ranking Republican on the Assembly Ways and Means committee.
Goodell tells WRFA that when Kolb first announced he was stepping down from the leadership position there was more than one member of the caucus who expressed an interest in taking over as minority leader. But he says it soon became apparent the majority of the support would go to Barclay.
The Assembly GOP caucus will meet at 2 p.m. Tuesday to vote on Barclay as the new minority leader. Meanwhile, both the Assembly and State Senate are scheduled to return to Albany on Wednesday for the start of the 2020 session.
Goodell tells WRFA that in addition to awaiting the roll-out of the executive budget later this month, lawmakers are also hoping to see legislative action early in the session that will focus on amending parts of the bail and discovery reform laws that went into effect at the beginning of this year.