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Brian Kolb steps down as Assembly minority leader 

New York state Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb, who was arrested New Year's Eve for drunken driving just days after warning constituents against getting behind the wheel intoxicated, said Friday he would step down as the top-ranking Republican in the Assembly.

In a statement released late in the afternoon, Kolb, 67, said he would "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." 
click to enlarge Assemblyman Brian Kolb - FILE PHOTO
  • Assemblyman Brian Kolb

"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 a statement. "That is why I have decided to step down as Minority Leader."

A spokesperson for Kolb, whose 131st Assembly District represents Ontario County and parts of Seneca County, said he would remain a member of the Assembly. Kolb has been the minority leader since 2009.

"I will be forever grateful for the confidence my colleagues have placed in me for the past 10 years," he said in the statement. "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."

Authorities said Kolb was arrested Tuesday night after he crashed his state-owned car into a ditch in the town of Victor. They said he failed a roadside sobriety test and that a breathalyzer indicated his blood-alcohol content was above the 0.08 percent legal limit for driving in New York.
The next day, Kolb acknowledged his wrongdoing in a statement, but made no mention of resigning his leadership post.

His arrest came days after he warned against impaired driving over the holiday season in his weekly column, which was published online and in the Daily Messenger.

Earlier Friday, Republican Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor appeared on "The Capitol Pressroom" and called for Kolb to resign as minority leader. Lalor had tweeted on New Year's Day that Kolb should have resigned immediately after his arrest, and it was a "disgrace" that he hadn't done so.

In his statement, Kolb said he will "always deeply regret" the events of that night.

"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.

A special prosecutor has been appointed to handle the drunken driving case. On Thursday, officials said that Yates County District Attorney Todd Casella has been named to handle the misdemeanor case of DWI.

The information in this report was compiled by CITY and its media partner, WXXI News.

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