New York State Senate Minority Leader John Flanagan says he will miss the start of the 2019 legislative session as he seeks further help for alcohol dependency.
In August 2017, Flanagan revealed he underwent treatment as “alcohol was becoming a crutch to deal with pressure” he faced as the majority leader.
In a statement Friday, Flanagan writes, “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.”
“No man or woman is perfect, but it does not mean we all shouldn’t strive for continuous and daily improvement,” the senator continues. “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.”
He adds Deputy Minority Leader Joseph Griffo, of Rome, will oversee the Republican minority in the Senate while he is away.
Flanagan was elected as the Republican leader in the Senate in 2015 after former leader Dean Skelos resigned following his arrest on corruption charges.
Flanagan has served Long Island in the legislator since 2002.