NY State Assembly

NY Republican Stepping Down as Minority Leader After New Year's Eve DWI Arrest

Brian Kolb had been Assembly Minority Leader for more than a decade

NY Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb
NY State Assembly

What to Know

  • NY State Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb was arrested for DWI on New Year's Eve
  • Kolb issued a statement taking full responsibility
  • Less than two weeks prior, Kolb published a column warning about holiday DWIs and saying there was "no excuse"

A top New York Republican leader is stepping down from his position after his arrest for a DWI on New Year's Eve — which came just days after he wrote a column warning of the dangers of driving drunk during the holidays.

Brian Kolb announced Friday that he would be leaving his post as the minority leader in the New York State Assembly, but he would not be leaving the 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. That is why I have decided to step down as Minority Leader," Kolb said in a statement. "I will not allow my own personal challenges to distract from the goals, message, and mission of the Assembly Minority Conference."

Kolb was arrested late Tuesday night after a car crash in the upstate town of Victor. He faces charges of driving while intoxicated with a blood alcohol level over the legal limit, according to a news release from the Ontario County Sheriff's Office.

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.

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.

"The events of December 31 are ones I will always deeply regret," the statement from Kolb read. "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."

Kolb has spent 20 years in the Assembly.

"This was a terrible lapse in judgment, one I have urged others not to make, and I take full responsibility for it," Kolb said in an earlier statement obtained by Rochester NBC affiliate WHEC.

On Dec. 20, he posted a weekly column on his Assembly website entitled "Drive Safe This Holiday Season." That column includes the line "There is no excuse for impaired driving."

Kolb is scheduled to appear in court at a later date on the charges.

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