Former News10NBC anchor Rich Funke says he is considering a run for New York State Senate, although he has not made a final decision yet. There has been speculation that Funke would run for the 55th Senate District seat currently held by Democratic Senator Ted O’Brien.
“I'm interested in any job that allows me to serve my community and make it a better place to live and work,” Funke told News10NBC, the Daily Messenger’s news partner.
Monroe County Republican Chairman Bill Reilich Monday afternoon said he approached Funke a few months ago. Reilich said Funke was an outstanding news anchor and has a lot to offer our community.
News10NBC asked Funke why he’s considering making a run for office. Funke said, “I am concerned about the direction of New York state. I’ve made public service a priority my entire life, and I’m weighing opportunities that would allow me to continue to do that. Elected office is one of the options I’m looking at right now. I’m going to take a few weeks and then I'll make a decision. “
Funke is a 44-year veteran of Rochester news, working as a sports and news anchor. He won numerous awards in his 38 years at News10NBC.
“I've spent a career being an objective observer of the issues that affect our region,” Funke said. “Reporting on those issues and bringing them to the public is one thing, and I'm proud I was able to do that, but potentially being in a position to actually do something about it and effect real change seems to be a logical next step.”
Reilich told News 10NBC he has had conversations with others as well for the state Senate seat, which includes portions of Monroe and Ontario counties. Reilich said he will need to make a decision on a candidate by mid-March.
Ontario County towns represented in the 55th District include Bristol, Canadice, East Bloomfield, Naples, Richmond, South Bristol, Victor and West Bloomfield.
O'Brien’s campaign spokesman Thomas Morrisey released a statement Monday saying, “Senator O’Brien fully expects to have an opponent this year and is confident he will be re-elected on the strength of his record of delivering tax relief to middle-class families and small businesses, securing investments to create jobs in our community, and fighting to clean up Albany and give New Yorkers the government they deserve. While others can worry about the politics of the day, Senator O’Brien remains focused on serving the hardworking men and women of Monroe and Ontario Counties and will continue working tirelessly to improve their lives.”