Lawmaker quits leadership post after drunken-driving arrest

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A New York lawmaker whose New Year’s Eve drunken-driving arrest came days after he wrote a column warning others not to drive while intoxicated said Friday he will step down from his post as the top Republican in the state Assembly.

“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,” Assemblyman Brian M. Kolb said in a statement. “That is why I have decided to step down as Minority Leader.”

Kolb, who represents a district just outside of Rochester, is not resigning from his Assembly seat.

Authorities said the 67-year-old Kolb was driving his state-owned SUV when he crashed into a ditch near his home Tuesday night. They said a breath test indicated Kolb’s blood-alcohol content was over 0.08%, the legal limit for driving in New York.

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The arrest came a week after Kolb published a column in the upstate Daily Messenger newspaper that warned against driving while under the influence of alcohol.

Kolb said in his statement Friday he will be “forever grateful” for the confidence his colleagues placed in him during the 10 years he served as leader of the Assembly Republicans. “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,” he said.

Kolb said he regrets the events of New Year’s Eve and added, “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.”

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