ALBANY — Assemblyman Will Barclay, R-120, was unanimously elected new Assembly minority leader Tuesday.

Barclay’s new post comes on the heels of the resignation of Brian Kolb, R-131, after he was arrested for drunk driving on New Year’s Eve. Court records showed he had a blood alcohol content of .16 percent, double the legal limit, when he crashed his state-owned SUV into a ditch in front of his Ontario County residence.

“I didn’t see myself becoming a leader under these circumstances, but I’ve very humbled and honored,” Barclay said. [Kolb] had a great legacy. He obviously made a bad choice and I think he’s paying for the price for it.”

Barclay is a long-standing incumbent, first elected to the Assembly in 2002. Prior to Tuesday’s election, he served as the minority ranking member on the Assembly Ways and Means Committee.

After Tuesday’s vote, Barclay said his major focus will be amplifying the Republican voice in a Democrat-controlled Legislature.

“It’s certainly going to be a challenge but I look forward to that challenge,” he said.

Assemblyman Mark Walczyk, R-116, disappointed in Kolb’s drunk driving arrest, said he is excited for Barclay’s leadership.

“Will Barclay is a great guy and a great legislator, and I think he’s going to be an excellent new voice for the conference,” Walczyk said. “He’s got a servant’s heart. He steps back and is going to listen to the voices of the other Republicans before he steps out.”

Massarah Mikati covers the New York State Legislature and immigration for Johnson Newspaper Corp. Email her at mmikati@columbiagreenemedia.com, or find her on Twitter @massarahmikati.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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