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Kolb won't seek re-election

Feb 13, 2020

Credit Spectrum News

Republican Assemblyman Brian Kolb said Thursday that he won't seek re-election this year.

Kolb represents the 131st Assembly District, which covers all of Ontario County and the northern part of Seneca County.

He was first elected to the Assembly 20 years ago.

"Obviously, 20 years is a long time to be a public servant, and I felt that I’ve given it my all for the last two decades," said Kolb.

Kolb led the minority party Republicans for nine years and was well-regarded at the Capitol.

He resigned from the leadership post in early January after he crashed his state-issued car into a ditch near his home on Route 41 in Victor on New Year’s Eve and was charged with drunken driving. The incident came a week after Kolb wrote an op-ed warning about the dangers of drinking and driving.

Kolb gained even more attention when police records included a witness report from a tow truck driver, who said Kolb initially told him it was his wife who had been driving. 

“You know how women drive,” Kolb said, according to the records.

He pleaded not guilty on Jan. 9.

Kolb said even before the incident, he was considering not running again.

"You always are wondering when is it the right time to move on and try something else," he said. "Certainly you never want to have that event at all, to kind of, sort of put a cloud over things, but really, I’ve thought about it the last couple of years."

He said being a legislative leader was "one of the most important jobs" he's ever had.

"And now that that’s all over, I just took a step back and said, 'You know, it’s time to do something different.' I’m not going to not stop giving back, I just have to find another way to keep myself going forward."

Kolb, 67, said his next step will be "something either totally different or mostly different, but it won’t include running for elected office."

Earlier in the day, Kolb said in a statement that serving his constituents “was a tremendous privilege." He also said his political career would not have been possible without the “love, patience and sacrifices” of his wife and other family members, and thanked his legislative colleagues "for everything they have given me over the years."

Assemblyman Will Barclay of Pulaski, who succeeded Kolb as minority leader, called Kolb's decision "disappointing."

“I will always appreciate his service to the people of the Finger Lakes and his unwavering commitment to the Assembly Minority Conference," Barclay said in a statement. "During his 20 years in Albany, Brian has been a trusted confidant and true friend to many of us. He will be greatly missed.” 

Kolb is the latest of several state legislators who have announced they won't be seeking re-election. Among them are Democratic Assemblyman David Gantt and Republican Sen. Rich Funke.