New York State Senate Minority Leader Flanagan Enters Alcohol Abuse Program
New York State Senate Minority Leader John Flanagan (R-Suffolk County) has announced he will miss the opening of the 2019 legislative session to deal with an alcohol abuse problem. Deputy Minority Leader, Senator Joseph Griffo (R-Oneida, Lewis, St. Lawrence Counties), will act in his place in the meantime. Senator Flanagan issued the following statement:
"Recently, I recognized the need to seek some additional help to overcome my battle with alcohol dependency. This was a difficult choice, but it is the right one for myself and for my family. I must now make my health and well-being my number one priority. As a result of the completion of a thorough rehabilitation and recovery program, which I believe is critically important, I anticipate missing the beginning of this year's legislative session. In my short absence, I have asked Senator Griffo to oversee the operations of our conference and those of the incoming Minority. He now serves as Deputy Minority Leader, and he will ensure that Senate Republicans can proceed seamlessly and without interruption until I return. This marks my 33rd year in Albany. When my father passed away suddenly while in office and I was first approached about running for his seat, I never could have imagined serving in this way - - first in the Assembly, then the Senate, and ultimately being chosen as Majority Leader of this esteemed body. It's been the honor and privilege of a lifetime, and one that I will never take for granted. No man or woman is perfect, but it does not mean we all shouldn't strive for continuous and daily improvement. I will attempt to do that with every fiber in my body. I thank my friends and colleagues for their patience, for their love and for their understanding, and am very much looking forward to the upcoming legislative session. This brief period of time away is necessary for my overall well-being, but will in no way impact my ability to serve my conference or my constituents. I have met so many good and kind people along the way, and for that I will forever be grateful. I know their thoughtful words and heartfelt prayers in the days ahead will give me the strength to fight and win this battle once and for all."