Assemblyman Brian Kolb, R-Canandaigua, is stepping down from his position as Minority Leader following his New Year’s Eve arrest for Driving While Intoxicated.
Kolb, 67, will remain as a member of the Assembly.
Kolb, who less than two weeks before his arrest had posted a column to his website urging people to drive safely during the holiday season, announced his intention to relinquish his post in a statement on Friday evening.
“As Leader of the Assembly Minority Conference, I have always tried to put the needs and best interests of our Conference ahead of my own,” Kolb said in his statement. “That is why I have decided to step down as minority Leader.
“I will not allow my own personal challenges to distract from the goals, message, and mission of the Assembly Minority,” he wrote.
Ontario County Sheriff’s deputies responded to 7980 County Road 41 in the town of Victor at about 10:30 p.m. Dec. 31 for the report of a property damage crash involving a 2018 GMC Acadia, according to a release from the Sheriff’s Office.
There were no other vehicles involved and no injuries reported.
Kolb was taken into custody for DWI and processed at the Ontario County Jail. He was charged with DWI with a blood alcohol level of more than .08 percent and with making an unsafe turn, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Kolb is to answer charges at a later date in Victor Town Court.
Kolb, a Republican from Canandaigua, was first elected in 2000. He was named Republican Minority Leader in 2009, and according to his biography, is currently the longest-tenured legislative leader in Albany. His 131st Assembly District includes all of Ontario County and parts of Seneca County. He is a former Town of Richmond supervisor and, as an Assemblyman, once represented Livingston County prior to redistricting.
Kolb, in a statement issued Wednesday morning, called his actions “a terrible lapse in judgment, one I have urged others not to make, and I take full responsibility for it.”
Kolb announced his intent to step down in a statement released just after 5 p.m. Friday. The full text of his statement:
“As Leader of the Assembly Minority Conference, I have always tried to put the needs and best interests of our Conference ahead of my own. That is why I have decided to step down as Minority Leader.
“I have a profound respect for each and every one of my colleagues, and sincerely admire their daily efforts on behalf of constituents and communities in every corner of the state. But 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.
“I will be forever grateful for the confidence my colleagues have placed in me for the past 10 years. But in my heart, I know that this is the right time for a new leader to step in and advance an agenda that benefits all New Yorkers.
“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.”
As for the DWI charge, Yates County District Attorney Todd Casella has been appointed as a special prosecutor to oversee the case.
“The next step will be the appearance in court,” Ontario County District Attorney Jim Ritts told area media on Thursday. “An appearance ticket was issued consistent with the new law as well as the policy of the sheriff’s department and he’ll appear in the next two or three weeks and be arraigned with his attorney and the process will start at that point.”
Hudson Valley Assemblyman Kieran Lalor, a fellow Republican, called for Kolb’s resignation as the Assembly GOP’s minority leader in a tweet on Wednesday, reported the New York Post.