The top Republican in the New York State Assembly will step down from his leadership position—but will not resign—following his arrest for drunk driving on New Year's Eve.
Brian Kolb, the longest serving member of the state legislature who represents the 131st district, which includes the Finger Lakes and areas south of Rochester, shared the news in a statement late Friday. "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," it reads. "That is why I have decided to step down as Minority Leader."
Police say Kolb, 67, was caught driving drunk on December 31st, after crashing his taxpayer-provided SUV into a ditch near his home in Victor, New York. A Breathalyzer test indicated that his blood-alcohol content exceeded .08 precent, authorities said.
The GOP leader does not appear to have any plans to resign from the Assembly completely, despite some calls to do so. "I will not allow my own personal challenges to distract from the goals, message, and mission of the Assembly Minority Conference," he said in the statement.
His arrest came just one week after publishing an op-ed imploring local residents to drive sober over the holidays.
"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," he said.
The Republican members of the Assembly will vote for a new minority leader. There is no word yet on who Kolb's successor will be.