Below is a statement from Assemblyman Bob Oaks on his pending retirement from state politics.
“Today, I am announcing that I will not be seeking re-election to the New York State Assembly this fall for the 130th district covering all of Wayne County and portions of Cayuga and Oswego Counties. Is has been an incredible experience and amazing opportunity over the past 26 years to represent the people of Wayne County in the New York State Assembly. Wayne County and our entire region is home to me and there is no reason to change that. Judy and I live in the same home as when we first got married nearly 39 years ago and we will continue to do so.
A couple of weeks ago when I headed back to Albany after the break from passing the state budget, if felt different. We had just spent time with both of our young grandchildren and for the first time as I headed to Albany on Monday morning, I had less enthusiasm for my weekly trip down the Thruway. That started a discussion with my wife and family that ultimately led to this decision.
I can’t say enough about my family. Judy was the perfect partner for me in this adventure in public service. She often said, “I married someone who worked in education and then he got into politics.” She doesn’t love the political world but she loved me and she knew I did love that world, so she made sure there was balance between work and family. She also made sure I was a present Dad and not all-consumed by the job. When the job was all-consuming, she brought the family to me. I’m so thankful it all worked so that we could raise two pretty special sons who now are husbands and fathers who are making their own positive marks on the world. I’m leaving now so I make sure my two grandchildren, who are both under two years old, know and learn a few things from their Grandpa Oaks.
I feel so appreciative of the many people who have supported me in the community. I want to emphatically thank the Republican Party, its committee members and officers. I also want to thank the many people who took the time to reach out to my office to make their views known on issues important to them. So many business owners, farmers, and other people active in and dedicated to their local communities have encouraged me and worked with me over the years.
I feel so blessed to have had an opportunity that only a few people ever have, to represent their home area in the State Assembly. Only 150 out of nearly 20,000,000 residents of our state do that at any one time. I developed close relationships and lifelong friendships with legislators and others involved in the legislative process. I got to work with amazing staff both in the District Office and in Albany.
The best part has been to help people who have needed assistance in dealing with state government and navigating the red tape of bureaucracy with them or for them. For the last 6 years as the Ranking Member of the Assembly Ways and Means Committee, I have had the opportunity to have a strong understanding of the state’s $168 billion budget and debate both its merits and its shortcomings on behalf of our conference and the people I represent.
“Over 26 years, I served under six Assembly Republican Leaders, each with their own strengths, including: “Rapp” Rapplyea, Tom Reynolds, John Faso, Charlie Nesbitt, Jim Tedisco and Brian Kolb. It has been a special privilege to work closely for the past nine years with the current Assembly Republican Leader, Brian Kolb, who gave me the opportunity to be in his inner circle and to have a closer vantage point of his outstanding leadership, which made my tenure more impactful and meaningful.
Five Governors (Mario Cuomo, George Pataki, Elliott Spitzer, David Patterson and Andrew Cuomo) and three Assembly Speakers (Saul Weprin, Sheldon Silver and Carl Heastie) later, it is time for someone younger to challenge the status quo and stand up for small businesses and small communities that are so important to the fabric of our area of upstate New York.
It is too soon to map out exactly what I want to accomplish in the future. I have nearly eight months to work on that before I leave the Assembly. I have worked for and on behalf of the people of Wayne County for over 40 years. It will be my goal to have the next chapter of my life building on that career of service. I tried to represent individuals and the area respectfully, while respecting the institution of the Assembly. I enjoyed working as a team with my State Senate colleagues, Members of Congress and with all our local officials. I am excited as I search for ways to have an impact and make a difference locally in the next phase of my life.”
Meanwhile, Sen. Pam Helming (R-Canandaigua) expressed her well-wishes for the outgoing Assemblyman:
“Assemblyman Bob Oaks has been both a friend and mentor. I wish him nothing but the best on his well-earned retirement. Throughout his career, Bob was a tireless advocate for the residents of Wayne, Oswego, and Cayuga Counties. He has left an indelible mark on our local community and an impact that will not be forgotten. Our region is a better place because of his service. Bob dedicated his life to serving others and showed his colleagues what public service is truly about. After decades helping others, Assemblyman Oaks will now have time to focus his energy on his beautiful grandchildren and family. I wish him well as he begins the next chapter of his life.”