Assembly Minority Leader Kolb welcomes new members, as election give Democrats majority in Legislature

State Assembly Republicans will welcome nine new members to their ranks, announced Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb, R-Canandaigua. Kolb was re-elected Tuesday in an uncontested race in the 131st district, which covers Ontario County and parts of Seneca County. First elected in 2000, Kolb is the longest-serving legislative leader in Albany.

Victories in Tuesday’s election mean Democrats now hold the majority in both the state Senate and Assembly. Democrat Andrew Cuomo was also re-elected as governor.

In area state Senate districts, Republicans Pam Helming of Canandaigua and Rich Funke of Perinton won re-election against Democratic challengers.

“For Republicans in New York, this election cycle presented one of the most tumultuous and threatening environments in recent memory,” stated Kolb. “But in the face of an uphill battle and long odds, the unwavering commitment of our candidates, staff and volunteers have helped our Conference expand.

“Our nine new members will be valuable additions and I look forward to working with these newly elected officials in January.”

Assembly Republican candidates defeated three Democratic incumbents, and won a seat that was previously in Democratic control. The nine new GOP Assembly members for 2019, which cover districts across the state, are: Joe DeStefano; Michael LiPetri; Mike Reilly; Robert Smullen; Colin Schmitt; Mark Walczyk; John Salka; Brian Manktelow; and Marjorie Byrnes.

Kolb noted, “Republican gains in the Assembly come while Democrats took control of the state Senate Majority and swept statewide races for Governor, Attorney General, Comptroller and U.S. Senate. In addition, three New York Congressional seats that had been held by Republicans were won by Democrats.”

On the issues, Democrats list their priorities that include universal health care, marijuana legalization, early voting, stronger gun control laws, protections for abortion rights and higher taxes on millionaires. After Tuesday’s election, Cuomo said he is eager to get to work with the Legislature to pass protections for abortion rights, election reforms and stronger gun control laws. But he also signaled that the Legislature will have to strike a balance. Cuomo said Democrats won’t hold the Senate for long if they pursue only liberal priorities.

Includes reporting by The Associated Press