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Assemblyman David Gantt to retire after four decades in politics

Longtime Assemblyman David Gantt talks about his decision to retire at his office on Friday.
James Brown/WXXI News
Longtime Assemblyman David Gantt talks about his decision to retire at his office on Friday.

Under advice from his doctors, longtime Rochester-area Assemblyman David Gantt will not seek re-election. He said he made the decision a few weeks ago.

The 78-year-old Democrat has been having dialysis treatments over the last few years and was visibly choked up after sharing the news. 

“I had a good time,” said Gantt. “I’ve done a lot of work. I will absolutely miss it. I’ll miss the work. But I’ll do it. I’ll do it in a different way.”

Gantt is in his 37th year in the state Assembly. He represents the 137th district, which includes parts of Rochester and Gates. Gantt also spent nine years in the Monroe County Legislature. Over those four decades, Gantt said he only has one regret. 

“None at all, except for the fact that we’re not doing enough for kids,” said Gantt.

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He intends to use his spare time on that issue going forward. 

“I intend to work with young people. I did that before and I intend to do that again. And don’t be surprised if you see me over at the (Rochester City) School District, advocating on behalf of kids.”
He’s throwing his support behind County Legislator Ernest Flagler-Mitchell for his seat. Rochester Board of Education Commissioner Natalie Sheppard is also seeking that seat.

As for Gantt, he expects to work with kids and he said he’ll stay in the area because, as he put it, “you can’t make a bunch of trouble and run away.”

Statement from Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren on David Gantt:

“David Gantt is a father to me. He saw potential in me when few did. He inspired me, took care of me when I was sick, guided me as I built my career and my family. And, he will always be part of my family. He has not only lifted me up, but countless people throughout our community.

"David remains as fierce as a lion. Courageous in standing up for those he serves and he has always spoken truth to power on their behalf. Even today he continues to fight for Rochester’s children. And, why has he done this for decades? Because of his love of others. Of those in need, of those who could not do so for themselves. He has always lived and worked as a servant leader – allowing his faith to guide him.

"I am not sad today. I am proud of David; proud of his work, proud of his example and proud to have the opportunity to fight for Rochester with the same spirit and strength. I know that together we will work until his last day on behalf of our community and its children. And, for that, and for everything he has done and will continue to do for me and for all of us, I am grateful.”

James Brown is a reporter with WXXI News. James previously spent a decade in marketing communications, while freelance writing for CITY Newspaper. While at CITY, his reporting focused primarily on arts and entertainment.
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