Senate minority leader seeking additional help to battle alcohol dependency

NY Capitol News

The New York Senate Minority Leader John Flanagan announced he is seeking additional treatment to help with his battle with alcohol dependency.

Flanagan says he anticipates missing the beginning part of this year’s session that begins on Wednesday. He has asked Senator Joseph Griffo (R-Rome) to oversee the operations of the conference during his absence.

“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,” Flanagan said in a statement. “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.”

Griffo currently serves as the Deputy Minority Leader and Flanagan says he will ensure the Senate Republicans can “proceed seamlessly and without interruption.”

According to Flanagan’s spokesperson, Scott Reiff, Flanagan has been in treatment since before Christmas and is expected to return January 21st.

This is the second time Flanagan has publicly announced that he will be receiving help for his alcoholism. The first time was in 2017.

Senator Catharine Young of Western New York competed with Flanagan for the Senate Minority position but ultimately lost by a few votes. She, however, released a statement today saying, “It takes great courage and strength to recognize when an addiction has a dangerous grip on one’s life and to seek outside help in combating the problem. I commend Senator Flanagan for bravely choosing that path.”

Incoming Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins also sent a statement calling Flanagan a friend and saying “I respect John’s candor and his recognition that he must take care of his health.”

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