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Assemblyman Brian Kolb steps down from leadership post after DWI on New Years Eve

Kolb says time is ‘right’ to step down as Minority Leader

Assemblyman Brian Kolb (R-Canandaigua) has stepped down from his post as minority leader of the Republican conference.

The move comes two days after being charged with driving while intoxicated after a one-vehicle crash in Ontario County.

He announced the move in a press release at 5 p.m.

“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,” Kolb said. “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.”

Assemblyman Kolb says that with a new year and new legislative session ahead, the work of the Republican Conference cannot be undermined or deterred.

In a statement earlier in the week he characterized the incident as a lapse in judgment, taking responsibility for his actions.

“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,” Assemblyman Kolb continued.

As for the decision, he said the timing was right for him to step down.

“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,” Kolb added.

Special prosecutor named in Kolb DWI case

In an update from Thursday afternoon, District Attorney Jim Ritts of Ontario County appointed Todd Casella, Yates County District Attorney to the case involving Assemblyman Brian Kolb. Additional information about the case was not released. No further information has been released by the Assemblyman’s office, either.

Check out the full-story below.

Republican legislator calls for Kolb to step down after DWI arrest

While a limited amount of new information was gleaned from a press conference held on New Years Day reaction has been wide-ranging after the DWI crash near Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb’s home.

Deputies were called to the scene at 7890 County Road 41 in the town of Victor around 10 p.m. on New Years Eve for a crash involving Kolb’s state-owned GMC Arcadia.

Sheriff Henderson reported that a passerby called in the crash to 911. Assemblyman Kolb failed a field sobriety test executed by deputies on-scene, and he consented to a breathalyzer test. While the results of that test were not released on Wednesday, Henderson said it would be released at the discretion of the prosecutor in the case.

District Attorney Jim Ritts, a Republican, says a special prosecutor will be named in the case. He says that ensuring full-transparency and integrity in the case is of the utmost importance.

Henderson said during the press conference that a misdemeanor DWI charge was warranted due to Kolb having no previous convictions.

“The way Mr. Kolb was treated would be like anyone else that was charged with this type of offense. I take great pride in this office and the deputies that work for me and there was no implications of any improprieties in regards to any favors, Mr. Kolb is being treated like anybody else,” Henderson said.

Meanwhile, Assemblyman Kolb issued a statement shortly after the initial press release came from the Ontario County Sheriff’s Office.

“Last night, I was charged with driving under the influence near my home. This was a terrible lapse in judgment, one I have urged others not to make, and I take full responsibility for it. I want to offer sincere apologies to my family, friends, colleagues, and the people of the 131st Assembly District. I fully recognize the severity of the situation and I am profoundly sorry,” Kolb said. “There is no excuse and no justification for what occurred Tuesday evening. I made the wrong decision, and it is one I deeply regret.”

Many have called for Assemblyman Kolb to resign. Some have said that he should simply resign from his leadership post, while others contend that he should resign from office entirely.

Many have also been critical of a column published last month by Assemblyman Kolb. In that column he discussed the importance of not drinking and driving. “Do not operate a vehicle if your ability to do so is impaired. Drunk driving is not only dangerous to the driver, but to vehicle passengers, bystanders and other drivers. Please consider the ramifications of impaired driving, especially as we prepare to close out 2019 and welcome in a new decade,” he said in it.

Assemblyman Kolb was first elected in 2000. His district includes all of Ontario County and the northern part of Seneca County. He was elected to the leadership role in 2009, a position he has held in state assembly since then without significant challenge.

Meanwhile, Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor, who represents the 105th District, took to Twitter to point out that Kolb should step down from his leadership post. Lalor added, “That he hasn’t done so already is a disgrace.”

Assemblyman Kolb’s seat is up for election in November. It’s unclear if he plans to run for re-election at this point, but Democrat Matt Miller, 24, has actively been campaigning to challenge him in November, if he does enter the race.

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