NY State Senator Dale Volker (R) announces retirement
BUFFALO, NY - New York State Senator Dale Volker officially announced this morning that he will retire at the end of his current term.
Volker, a Republican, was first elected to the state assembly in 1972, and later won a special election to fill a vacant seat in the state senate.
Volker says that having Erie County Republican Party Chair James Domagalski as a possible primary campaign challenger was a factor, but believes he would have won.
The fiscal crisis in Albany is another issue.
"The situation in Albany, fiscally... it's gonna take two to four years to get this straightened out," said Volker. "It was time for me to cash it in."
At one point during his announcement, Volker became emotional and told his supporters "its really been a pleasure serving in Albany."
Volker is 69-years-old and is the region's senior and perhaps most influential lawmaker. He currently serves on the following Committees: Codes - Chairman; Corporations, Authorities and Commissions; Crime Victims, Crime and Corrections; Ethics; Finance; Judiciary; Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities; and Rules.
Volker is a lawyer and before he got into politics, he served as a police officer and has been an advocate for law enforcement in Albany.
Below is a text of Senator Volker's remarks:
"Over the past 38 years as an elected official, I have always put the people over politics. It is the reason why after a very intense period of reexamination, personal reflection and conversations with my family and friends, I have decided that I will not seek re-election to the New York State Senate representing the 59th Senate District.
This was not an easy decision, but it is time for me to move on to new endeavors, spend quality time with my wife, my children, my grandchildren and friends. I can never say thank you enough to those who have supported me over the years-the residents of the 59th Senate District. They are the heart and soul of what is good and decent in our state and nation.
I would also like to thank my fellow Republican and Democratic colleagues in the State Senate and State Assembly, as well as countless elected officials in Erie, Wyoming, Livingston and Ontario Counties, that I have known over the past 38 years in public office. I know that many people currently view their elected officials in a negative light. However, for the most part, these State Senators, State Assemblymen, and local elected officials are fine individuals with good intentions that work very hard on behalf of their constituencies and their communities each and every day.
I have no regrets in making this decision, only very fond memories. I have always lived my life with dignity, integrity and honesty; and I can say without hesitation that I brought those same characteristics everyday when I proposed bills, passed legislation, debated public policy, and fought tooth and nail to protect western New York on the floor of the New York State Senate for the past 38 years.
Thank you all again for allowing me the honor and privilege in representing you over the past 38 years. I did my best."
News of his retirement comes at a time when the state budget is 28 days late. New York is facing a $9 billion deficit and lawmakers can't seem to agree on ways to fill it.
Click on the video link above to see reaction from the former Erie County Republican Chairman.